Winter Dressage Championships day three: former runaway horse shows what she’s made of for championship first-timer

Dressage videos 28 Videos Amy Woodhead: how to ride a canter half pass to wow the judges 02:58 Amy Woodhead: how working for Carl Hester has set her up for success 06:14 Watch Carl Hester at home: 'I can't wait to get out of bed and train horses towards grand prix' 02:31 Tales from Hartpury: the nine-year-old rising star with an Olympic dream 02:35 Winter Dressage Championships day four: one-two for Dujardin 03:43 Sophie Wells' rising star impresses on prix st georges gala night 01:22 Winter Dressage Championships day three: former runaway horse shows what she's made of for championship first-timer 03:30 Tales from Hartpury: the event horse making waves in her new career 01:56 Tales from Hartpury: Five horses and 13 tests — but did this rider remember where to go? 01:04 Tales from Hartpury: the horse with a rare skin condition that travelled in first gear for six miles 02:02 Winter Dressage Championships day two: Dujardin wants her rising star's foal for Easter 03:35 Tales from Hartpury: meet the family pony rubbing shoulders with dressage's big guns 01:08 Winter Dressage Championships day one: a shock victory and a horse defies the odds to do a double 04:43 H&H dressage editor’s Area Festival video diary: Disbelieving the results of my small and fairly average horse 05:03 Watch Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro's European freestyle dressage test 07:13 Watch Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro wow the crowds at Hartpury 09:37 What is 'breath energy' and could it help your riding? 03:48 Watch Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro's freestyle on a catch ride 06:38 Ruth Edge: How to ride the perfect 10m circle 01:18 Exclusive: watch Valegro work out on a water treadmill 02:46 'Squat to exhaustion': meet Alice Oppenheimer 02:43 Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin: A bit of banter 03:15 Maria Eilberg: How to improve your horse's walk 02:03 Maria Eilberg: how to improve your horse’s trot 01:21 Michael Eilberg: How to ride a square halt 03:35 Michael Eilberg: introducing collection in canter 05:01 Michael Eilberg: teaching your horse to rein back 05:03 Watch Farouche's winning test at the BD nationals 05:44

Dannie Morgan finally managed to shake off his bridesmaid status when taking the elementary freestyle silver title on day four of the NAF Five Star British Dressage Winter Championships.

The 25-year-old had already clocked up two seconds, two thirds and a fourth at these championships, so his win riding Sarah Oppenheimer’s Headmore Davina was well-deserved.

Southampton-based Dannie rode to a Lion King medley to score 73.91%, 0.7% ahead of second-placed Jane Morris riding Quinet Du Buisson Z.

Usually an event rider, Dannie was riding at his first BD winter championships.

“It’s been such a fun week,” said Dannie. “It’s also amazing and a real privilege to ride such a world class horse like Davina.”

Alice Oppenheimer produced this mare but “struggled” with her.

“Dannie has done such a good job with her as she has such a strong flight reflex and she used to run off at shows with me,” said Alice who hopes Davina will be a grand prix horse for her for the future. “He’s built her confidence and there’s no way that she would have gone into that main arena this time last year. She’s a phenomenal talent and has really tried hard here.”

Dannie Morgan riding Headmore Davina

Novice gold honours went to a delighted Becky Moody, riding her giant five-year-old, Heavenly Kiss BS, who stands at 18hh.

“Our long-term supporter Julie Lockey bred him, so I’ve known him since he was a foal,” said Becky of the First Kiss x Don Schufro gelding, affectionately known as ‘Hectorsaurus’ at home, due to his dinosaur dimensions. “We were hoping for a top five finish so I’m really pleased. We did a good, solid clear round but it wasn’t earth-shattering which is exciting as I know there’s so much more to come.”

Becky fought off some tough competition, with Nicola Buchanan 1.78% behind Becky in second place riding St Giles Fairytale on a score of 71.73%. Meanwhile Charlotte Dujardin was third on River Rise Nisa.

Christian Landholt added a second winter title to his 2017 tally when taking the novice silver championship. He was once again riding the six-year-old mare Liss La Belle, and they completed an accurate and correct test for 77.02%.

Second place went to the highly consistent, Dannie Morgan, once again riding Headmore Davina. They scored 73.21% and Dannie added this to his win earlier in the day.

Petplan Equine Area Festival Finals

The area festival medium bronze final went to under-25 rider Lucy Goodman riding her own seven-year-old chestnut mare, Freya V. They were the only combination to break the 70% barrier to finish on 70.05%, ahead of Jade Clark riding Evangelico.

Lucy said: “Evangelico is a typical chestnut mare — she’s very hot but we’ve just started to click over the past 18 months.”

A former model took top honours in the area festival novice silver final.

Matthew Baker and his 17.1hh The Merry Minstrel won by nearly 1% to finish on 73.17%.

Matthew originally evented, but was working in Boots on Oxford Street in London when he was scouted to become a model. He took a year out of eventing to give modelling a go and then returned to horses but decided to go down the dressage route instead.

Matthew said: “He concentrated well the second time around after we were only sixth in the first of the two rounds.”

Continued below…

Second place went to Alicia Laughton riding Armada Donna Bella.

For a full report from the British Dressage NAF Five Star Winter Championships and the Petplan Equine Area Festival Final pick up a copy of Horse & Hound on Thursday, 20 April