There was an unusual result in the elementary silver at the long-awaited NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships 2020, which got underway at Hartpury today
Two riders emerged as joint winners of the Equi-Trek elementary silver at the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships 2020 at Hartpury College. Maeve Morris on Headmore Footloose and Chelsea Tolhurst riding Hermitage De Jeu both posted scores of 71.61%.
For Maeve and Headmore Footloose this win marked a fourth national title – the pair triumphed in the prelim at the national championships in 2018, and the novice gold and novice freestyle classes at the winter championships in 2019.
“I cried when I realised we’d won. I’m over the moon. We made an expensive mistake in the simple changes when we cantered on the wrong leg but fortunately it didn’t cost us,” said Maeve.
The seven-year-old Florencio gelding was bred by Maeve’s stepmother Nicola, but when he grew too big for her Maeve took over the ride.
“He’s the nicest horse and is so reliable. He can be naughty at home but when everyone’s watching and there’s an atmosphere he has a smile on his face and just loves doing his job,” said the former showjumper, who normally works full-time as a property manager in London, returning to Winchester to ride at the weekends.
“I’ve been working from home over the past few months which has been great. I can definitely notice a difference as having more time in the saddle has enabled us to gel more and develop our partnership. We’ve also been able to spend more time training with Alice Oppenheimer.”
‘Lockdown was really beneficial’
Freelance rider Chelsea Tolhurst confessed to being “ecstatic” about her Winter Dressage Championships 2020 elementary silver victory with Hermitage De Jeu. She has been riding the eight-year-old son of Chagall for four years.
“He usually gets tense and spooks, but today he was relaxed, soft and supple. It was lovely to have him so rideable as it meant I could concentrate on where we were going. We’ve put a lot of hard work in but results like this make it all worth it,” said Chelsea.
“Lockdown was really beneficial. It gave us time to perfect his basic way of going, getting him to listen and slow down and come from behind more. He’s taken a while to grow up and mature but he’s starting to really find his feet and trust me now.”
Chelsea, who lives in Kent, spent a year working for the Eilbergs before basing herself for three years with Judy Harvey.
Jennifer Harkness and the seven-year-old Desperado daughter Inouk took third in the elementary silver with 70.99%.
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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