Mount St John VIP, a six-year-old mare, was the runaway winner of the Equi-Trek elementary gold championship under Charlotte Dujardin at the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships at Hartpury today (13 April).
The pair finished almost 7% ahead of second placed riders Dannie Morgan on Southern Cross Braemar and Tahley Reeve-Smith on Sharola Showstar who tied on 69.9%.
“She is very consistent and has the best trainability, so I can just go in there and ride — she’s like a little toy,” said Charlotte of the Vivaldi x Donnerhall mare owned by Mount St John LLP. “She’s the same at home as she is in competition performance-wise. She stays focussed and I can move her up and down the gears easily.”
Mount St John owner Emma Blundell revealed that VIP had a colt foal by Foundation last night via embryo transfer.
“I’ve told Emma that I want first dibs on him — maybe he could be my Easter present!” Charlotte laughed. “I think VIP is really exciting and she has a grand prix future ahead of her.”
Thirteen-year-old Lily Payne and the 15hh mare Beckhouse Cancara, owned by Ann Savage, made the most of their well-suited Olly Murs medley when taking the novice freestyle gold championship.
“I knew I could trust her as we know each other inside out — she’s very sensible,” said Lily of her first ever horse. “We had no expectations, we just wanted to do our best.”
Lily has had the ride on the 11-year-old who is by a hackney stallion, out of a warmblood mare, for two years. They scored 73.7% which was only 0.27% ahead of Dannie Morgan who has achieved several top three placings so far at the championships. He was riding Headmore Diva, owned by Sarah Oppenheimer.
Charlie Sawyer and Chico Too clinched their third winter title in 24 hours when taking the medium silver championship on 71.57%. This horse continued to impress the judges, despite the health issues he has faced.
They were just 0.26% in front of second placed Alice Wilson-Gough and Snow Patrol.
Petplan Equine Area Festival Finals
A delighted Rachael Clark proved herself correct when victorious in the prix st georges area festival final on 13-year-old mare Wilhemina II.
“I thought she could win but to actually do it is fabulous,” said Rachael who rides full-time from her Buckinghamshire base.
The pair were the only combination in the class to break the 70% barrier, scoring 70.18%.
“’Millie’s’ trot work was the best she has produced at prix st georges, but I just had to remind myself not to rush her and make my £35 entry fee last a bit longer which is something I overheard someone else say this morning!” laughed Rachael, who has had the ride on the Weltissimo mare for 18 months. “She’s so physical to ride and I find myself finally able to breathe once I reach the walk movements.”
Millie was a broodmare until she was a seven-year-old and Rachael now shares ownership of her with dressage judge Carolyn Alston.
“Hopefully we’ll get to compete internationally this year,” said Rachael.
Yesterday’s area festival inter I silver winner, Debbie Poynter couldn’t quite make it a double victory, finishing second behind Rachael on Keystone For Real.
Twenty-year-old Natasha Rumble won the area festival elementary bronze title aboard Liz Rawlingson’s 17.1hh gelding Westcroft Dragonfly.
“I tried to do everything right and I was in the zone,” said Natasha, who is from Wincanton.
The Glock’s Voice x Ferro nine-year-old gained 69.2% ahead of second placed Lily Payne riding Beckhouse Cancarra.
For a full report from the British Dressage winter championships and the Area Festival final — as well as news, views and expert comment — pick up a copy of Horse & Hound magazine next Thursday (20 April).