Find out how Charlotte Dujardin got on, which rider is the latest from Scotland to claim a title and why a part-bred traditional cob's novice bronze victory was so impressive
An eye-catching part-bred traditional cob was crowned the winner of the Petplan Equine novice bronze at the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships.
Victoria Homden’s winning ride, the six-year-old 14hh stallion Olly, may not be of typical dressage breeding, being Welsh/traditional cob, but this novice bronze win caps a hugely impressive run of success for the pair.
Victoria and Olly’s 71.18% victory at the Winter Dressage Championships makes it eight wins in a row – not bad for a pair who only seriously took up dressage in 2020.
“Olly is my little cob who we bred at home, and he just seems to keep performing and doing really well,” said Victoria. “He is Welsh crossed with a little traditional cob, so he has all these feathers and a long mane that’s been all plaited up.
“We have only really done dressage over the last year. But somehow we have just kept winning – I’m not sure if it’s just down to luck or because we are trying really hard.
“Today’s test was a lot better than the one at the Area Festival – that was good, don’t get me wrong, but here he was a lot more relaxed and I could actually take a second during the test which is quite nice.”
This was also the first time Victoria had ridden a test in a dressage saddle, with it only arriving on Monday morning this week.
“The rest of the time we have just been in a general purpose saddle,” explained Victoria, who works as a riding instructor and also runs a livery yard in Hampshire.
‘I’m getting closer to Charlotte!’
Also at the Winter Dressage Championships, Charlotte Dujardin’s upcoming ride Times Kismet continued to prove herself as a serous horse of the future. The mare, who is owned by Peter Belshaw, added the Equi-Trek elementary gold title to her Prestige Italia novice gold win on Tuesday.
The Ampere daughter is a really beautiful mare, with an exquisite seahorse head, gloriously free and powerful paces, and showed maturity beyond her six years. As with all her horses, Charlotte had her in perfect, effortless balance throughout her elementary test, which was a delight to watch and earned 76.72%.
While Charlotte had to jump ship following her 7.58am elementary ride to run through the grand prix test at Royal Windsor with her long-listed Tokyo Olympics ride, Mount St John Freestyle, second-placed Sadie Smith was bubbling with excitement to finish within 2% of Charlotte.
Sadie scored 74.95% riding her own six-year-old Dante Weltino mare Swanmore Dantina, having also finished second to Charlotte in the novice gold.
“I went in there and gave it my all. The thing is, when you get to a championship, you have got to be able to take the risk and ride for 10s,” said Sadie, who works for Carl Hester and Charlotte. “I’m getting closer to Charlotte!”
Family horse dances to glory
Claire Moore continued what is turning out to be a super week for Scottish riders at the Winter Dressage Championships. Claire rode the nine-year-old coloured mare EV Amore Mia to win the British Dressage medium silver championship on 69.37%.
“She was hot today; she was here to perform and was looking at the audience,” said Claire, who took over the ride on Lindsay Moffat’s mare in 2019. “We had to do our best to keep everything together and we did have a small mistake in the rein-back but she felt like she was dancing and really up for it today which was nice. We haven’t done a big championship like this before, so it was exciting for us both.”
Mia may be a national champion, but Claire says she is also a perfect family horse to have at home.
“She likes to do her job but equally she’s a really nice horse for me to have – I’ve got a young family, two boys, but I can take her hacking with them following me, and she jumps occasionally too. She is just a really fun horse to have, but she can come and pull this off as well. She is just absolutely perfect for me and my family.
“I’m very, very lucky to have the opportunity to ride her because horses like Mia don’t come along very often.”
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