‘Phenomenal’ mare wows with freestyle victory at NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships *H&H Plus*

  • Find out which mare added another national title to her tally with advanced medium gold freestyle victory at the Winter Dressage Championships 2020

    Alice Oppenheimer and Headmore Bella Ruby produced an impressive performance to win the Nupafeed advanced medium gold freestyle at the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships 2020.

    The pair scored 76.28% for their entrancing routine set to music from Les Misérables, making this the third national championship in a row where they have been taken a title.

    One of the highlights of their test was a brilliantly-executed series of shallow canter loops up the centre of the arena.

    “The technical term for it is a ‘squiggle’,” laughed Hampshire-based Alice. “Bella is so supple and balanced, and her canter and her changes are her highlights, so we wanted to really show them off.

    “I actually wrote that freestyle earlier this year and said, ‘If this isn’t good enough to win then I should never doing another freestyle again’,” she joked.

    “We hope that we can keep that music when she gets up to grand prix. It’s spectacular and suits her so much.”

    The eight-year-old Belissimo M mare plays an important role at the Oppenheimers’ Headmore Stud. She is by their foundation mare, the Rubinstein daughter Rubinsteena, and has produced several offspring herself, including a So Unique foal this year.

    ‘Getting our changes was the main aim of the day’

    Laura Wollen finished second in the advanced medium gold freestyle with Woodcroft Francisco, scoring 73.33%. Laura and the 10-year-old Fidertanz gelding rode to music from The Holiday.

    “The music really suits him because he’s such a happy, elegant horse,” said Laura. “He can get a bit nervous, but riding to the music relaxes him.”

    Laura revealed that they have struggled with the right-to-left flying change, but that she was “thrilled” that all her changes came off at the Winter Dressage Championships.

    “To be honest, getting those changes was the main aim of the day!” she laughed.

    “We’re now planning to do an advanced with him towards the end of September, all being well, just to see how he copes with having a few more changes. Then we will step him up to prix st georges.”

    Matt Frost rode the Chagall eight-year-old mare Helga to claim third on 73.11%.

    Keep up with all of the action from the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships on the Horse & Hound website via our H&H Plus service with full reports from each winter championship class, plus a gallery of winners from the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships.

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