Category Archives: Dressage

The Discipline of Riding Dressage

Faurie’s Fairytale Freestyle at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Emile Faurie (GBR) and Bellevue @RoyalWindsorHorseShow/Peter Nixon

Dressage once again was at the forefront of the action on day two of Royal Windsor Horse Show. Competitors pulled out all the stops with high-energy performances accompanied by complex musical productions in The Defender CSI4* FEI Dressage Freestyle in the Castle Arena.

Elsewhere across the private grounds of Windsor Castle, Showing got underway with Championships taking place for the Working Hunter sponsored by Irish Horse Board, the Coloured divisions sponsored by the Leeman Family, and the RoR Tattersalls Thoroughbred Ridden Show Horse supported by Royal Windsor Racecourse.

National Showjumping saw some of the country’s best up-and-coming horses take centre stage in The Walwyn Novice Jumping Championship, sponsored by Martin Collins Enterprises, with The LeMieux National 1.40m Open Jumping Competition providing a thrilling competition for spectators.

BELLE(VUE) OF THE BALL

The pinnacle class of the day, The Defender CSI4* FEI Dressage Freestyle, took place with 10 combinations competing for the highly sought-after prize. Ever-popular, the Freestyle sees horses and riders competing to their own specifically chosen music track and floorplan, matched to a set number of the complex moves required at this level of Dressage. Unlike in the Grand Prix, judges provide two sets of marks, one for the technical execution and the other for artistic impression.

First into the Castle Arena was Britain’s Lisa Marriott, who was making her debut at the Show. Set to the iconic soundtrack from ‘The Holiday’, Marriott impressed judges to set the standard with a total score of 67.160%. Compatriot Nicholas Kröncke and Flanell – competing in only their second Freestyle test together – then took the lead with 71.100%. The German-born rider, who took a 17-year hiatus from top level sport and returned in 2021, changed nationalities at the beginning of this year to compete for Great Britain, having previously ridden successfully as part of the German Youth teams.

Australia’s Championship combination of Jayden Brown and Willingapark Quincy B could not quite match the personal best of 75.485% they set at CDI3* Hartpury last summer. However, their score of 74.415% was enough to put them into the top spot at this stage of the competition. Two further riders took to the iconic arena prior to the midway break – China’s Sarah Rao and Italy’s Nathalie Wahlund – however, neither could reach the score set by Brown.

After an interval, it was the second placed combination’s turn to canter down the centre line. Emile Faurie once again proved why he has represented Britain at Championship level so many times as he – much to the delight of the crowd – set the new standard of 76.280% with Bellevue. None of the remaining combinations, which included Gareth Hughes and Classic Goldstrike, could produce a test which matched the harmony and precision set by Faurie. Faurie’s victory in The Defender CDI4* FEI Dressage Freestyle capped a fabulous competition at Windsor, with Britain’s Lewis Carrier taking second and Singapore’s Caroline Chew completing the top three.

Following his win, Emile Faurie said: “It’s been a weird build-up to the Show because she [Bellevue] threw a splint six weeks ago, but she’s such an incredible, honest mare and she came and did her thing. Unfortunately, at the beginning of last year, I was diagnosed with cancer, so that led to significant time off and some serious operations, but I luckily had my great team and my rider Tom behind me to be able to get back on and go on to win today.”

Faurie went on to say: “I kept the programme quite simple as this was only Bellevue’s third ever Freestyle, but the music was composed by Tom Hunt especially; it’s an original score for us as a pairing.”

The victor closed with: “It’s always special to be here at Royal Windsor; it has that little extra magic – you don’t find that backdrop of the Castle anywhere else in the world. The English are such a ‘horse nation’ so the atmosphere from the crowd is amazing; you can feel their energy, and even when they’re silent you can hear them willing every rider on.”

HERE COME THE GIRLS

National Show Jumping got under way with the Redpost Equestrian Senior Foxhunter – First Round, sponsored by Martin Collins Enterprises. Of the 98 starters, it was Sally Goding with the seven-year-old mare Red Head who triumphed with a double clear in a time of 31.81, almost a second faster than Natasha Hewitt in second. Goding is a previous winner at Royal Windsor Horse Show, having also won The LeMieux 1.40m Open Jumping Competition in both 2022 and 2023. The 12 highest placed six-year-olds from this class qualified for The Walwyn Novice Jumping Championship, sponsored by Martin Collins Enterprises. Of these, five combinations made it through to the jump-off against the clock, with the Billy Stud’s Billy At Last coming out on top under Lucy Townley, and Nicole Lockhead Anderson coming in second by just a third of a second.

It was a successful day for Lockhead Anderson, who went one better in the next class to claim The LeMieux National 1.40m Open Jumping Competition with the eight-year-old gelding Mecoblue PS, by Messenger. The ‘Single Phase’ competition is always hotly contested, and this year included notable entries from World No. 2 Ben Maher and Royal Windsor Horse Show Ambassador Joseph Stockdale, who placed seventh and eighth, respectively.

Lockhead Anderson stated: “It’s great to be here riding in the beautiful Castle Arena in the LeMieux National 1.40m Open Jumping Competition at Royal Windsor Horse Show, we’re very lucky in Britain to have a show like it, and winning makes it even more special!”

Talking about her horse, Lockhead Anderson said: “Mecoblue PS is fantastic; he just gets better and better.” She went on to say: “He is very green but finds jumping the big jumps easy – he’s definitely one for the future – he gives you the feeling he could be here in the 5* next year.”

The British rider closed by saying: “We ended up flying to the last fence; he has a huge stride and luckily he trusted me to go for it; it paid off because we only just beat Ronnie Jones by a second.”

HM THE KING TAKES THE CROWN

HM The King struck gold twice in the Showing at Royal Windsor Horse Show, courtesy of First Receiver.

His Majesty’s ex-racehorse First Receiver first strode to victory in the hugely popular RoR (Retraining of Racehorses) Tattersalls Thoroughbred In-Hand Show Series Qualifier (Flat) supported by Royal Windsor Racecourse for the second year running, and then captured the overall Championship, exhibited by Chris Hunnable. Not long afterwards, First Receiver changed modes to win the RoR Tattersalls Ridden Show Series Qualifier (Flat) supported by Royal Windsor Racecourse with Katie Jerram-Hunnable in the saddle. To Jerram-Hunnable’s amazement and delight, they went on to land that Championship too.

Essex-based Jerram-Hunnable has shown horses for the Royal Family for many years, and one of her major success stories came with Her Late Majesty The Queen’s ex-racehorse Barbers Shop, who took every title on the show circuit in his second career and even stood overall Supreme of Show here at Royal Windsor.

First Receiver, a seven-year-old bay gelding, joined Jerram-Hunnable three years ago, after Her Late Majesty The Queen was considering a replacement for Barbers Shop.

“Her Majesty asked me to go to Sandringham and give her an opinion on this one,” said Katie. “He was still entire then, but I thought he had enormous potential as a future riding horse — three weeks later he came to my yard and he hasn’t left since!”

Jerram-Hunnable said: “It’s always very special to win at Windsor, but to do so with a horse belonging to the reigning monarch is a moment to treasure and I was amazed to take the Ridden Championship against some very strong competition.”

As a five-year-old, First Receiver won the Novice RoR title at the Royal International Horse Show, and the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Final at Horse of the Year Show.

“We put him away after Windsor last year, as we felt he would benefit from some time out,” added Jerram-Hunnable, who intends to show him in Novice Riding Horse ranks.

Courses for the popular Working Hunter classes proved as testing as ever, and after two absorbing competitions, the overall Working Hunter Championship sponsored by Irish Horse Board title in the Castle Arena went to first-time Royal Windsor winner, Lancashire-based Adele Hanson with her upstanding Heavyweight victor, 12-year-old Irish-bred The Top Drawer.

To find out more about Royal Windsor Horse Show, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

Adrienne Lyle Scores Grand Prix Special Win during Final Week of AGDF

Adrienne Lyle & Lars Van De Hoenderheide © SusanJStickle.com

Saturday of the last CDI of the Wellington winter season gave team USA much to be excited about. In the CDI3* Grand Prix Special, sponsored by Beatrice Marienau Dressage, Olympic team silver medalist Adrienne Lyle (USA) opted to ride Lars Van De Hoenderheide — with whom she finished second in the qualifying grand prix, just behind her other horse Helix — and the decision proved fruitful.

On the penultimate day of the 2024 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), she and Zen Elite Equestrian Center’s 13-year-old Negro gelding, who was previously campaigned at the level by Lottie Fry (GBR) until December 2023, scored 73.192% with a solid, mistake-free performance to win the class of 14 starters.

Winners of the qualifying grand prix, Endel Ots (USA) and Zen Elite’s Bohemian — another new high-profile acquisition for owner Heidi Humphries — slotted into second in the Special with 72.49%. Their test attracted many eights, but a hop into canter at the beginning of the trot half-pass right and a miscommunication at the start of the one-time changes on the centerline quashed the score. Despite the mistakes, the 14-year-old Bordeaux gelding presented a harmonious, relaxed picture with his new rider.

The top six riders were all from the home nation, with Kasey Perry-Glass going one better than in the grand prix and finishing on the podium, in third, with Heartbeat WP. She rode the 12-year-old Charmeur gelding to 71.383% in their second ever CDI.

Lyle, who trains with Debbie McDonald, said, “I think it’s 10 weeks now that we’ve had Lars and this is the first full Special I’ve ridden through on him. I’m so incredibly happy at his energy and his honesty and his willingness. It seems like he’s starting to understand what I want and fight for me in there, which is really special in such a new relationship.

“I was really happy with his piaffe/passage tour. I got a bit braver to make the piaffe stay on the spot more and feel like I could trust that more. His canter tour is always super; he’s got super power and the changes are just a treat to ride,” she continued.

For more information and results, visit https://gdf.coth.com.

Endel Ots and Adrienne Lyle Debut New Olympic Hopefuls and Dominate in Final CDI of AGDF 2024

Endel Ots & Bohemian © SusanJStickle.com

Much-anticipated appearances by new horse-and-rider combinations — spearheaded by Endel Ots and Zen Elite’s Bohemian — were the flavor of the day on Thursday, March 28. It marked the opening day of week 12 — the final CDI of the 2024 season of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL.

In the CDI3* FEI Grand Prix, sponsored by Beatrice Marienau Dressage, Zen Elite Equestrian’s team of three new top horses filled every podium step. Owner Heidi Humphries bought the high-profile horses Bohemian, Helix, and Lars Van De Hoenderheide for the U.S. riders Endel Ots and Olympic team silver medalist Adrienne Lyle at the end of 2023, and this was the first CDI appearance for all three.

Bohemian was fourth at the Tokyo Olympics and won freestyle silver in 2021 under Denmark’s Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour, and under the saddle of Ots he once again graced the upper echelons of the scoreboard, topping the class of 24 starters with 72.761%. The pair picked up healthy helpings of eights — particularly for piaffe and passage — but the final score was suppressed by mistakes in the two-time changes, which earned twos and threes from the panel of five judges.

Lyle, who was first to go down the centerline with Lars Van De Hoenderheide, held on to third place with the 13-year-old Negro gelding, scoring 70.652% on the horse previously campaigned by Great Britain’s Lottie Fry. Lyle went one better with her second ride, the 12-year-old Apache son Helix, whom she has taken over from Sweden’s Marina Mattsson. They slotted into second with 71.065%. Ots and Lyle led a clean sweep for the home nation, with U.S. riders filling the top six places in the class, which was a qualifier for Saturday’s Grand Prix Special.

Remarkably, Ots was making his international grand prix debut with the 14-year-old by Bordeaux. Although a seasoned competitor nationally, this was the rider’s very first grand prix in a CDI. Bohemian is no stranger to AGDF, however, as his previous owner, Dong Seon Kim (KOR), campaigned him in Wellington in 2023, but this is the horse’s first win on the circuit. He was subsequently sent to Patrik Kittel to be shown in Europe and sold, before returning stateside at the beginning of the year for new owners Zen Elite Equestrian.

“It’s all very surreal,” admitted Ots, who has trained with Albrecht Heidemann since he was 18. “You always see all the famous people like Adrienne Lyle and Kasey Perry [who finished fourth with 70% on Heartbeat WP], and I am just thankful and happy to be in there with them and part of the group.”

For more information and results, visit https://gdf.coth.com.

Dujardin Dances to Victory on Second Day of London International Horse Show

Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) riding Imhotep @LondonInternationalHorseShow/Ashley Neuhof

Charlotte Dujardin and Imhotep set the ExCeL alight on day two of the London International Horse Show as they took the victory in the FEI Dressage World Cup Freestyle to Music presented by Bret Willson Dressage International Ltd supported by Horse & Hound. The International Arena also saw action from the Extreme Driving supported by Karen and Hugh Scott-Barrett and the Yeti Under-25 British Show Jumping Championship.

Meanwhile, in the New Horizon Plastics London Arena, Showing kicked off with highlights coming from the Rising Star of Cob Type Championship, and the Rising Star of Hunter Type Championship. Spectators were also treated to the first of the LeMieux Masterclass series, ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ featuring FEI Eventing World Champion, Yasmin Ingham, Richard Davison, and Gareth and Ruby Hughes.

FABULOUS FREESTYLE

The pinnacle class of Thursday’s schedule came from the FEI Dressage World Cup Freestyle to Music, which saw a packed International Arena wowed by perfect piaffes and exceptional extensions.

Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and the 10-year-old chestnut stallion Imhotep followed up on their Grand Prix victory, and produced a breathtakingly beautiful performance to the sheer delight of the home crowd to take the win with a score of 89.465%.

It was once again a British top three, with double FEI World Championship gold medallist Lottie Fry claiming the runner-up spot. Fry, who was last to go in the competition with the stunning black stallion Everdale took to the arena with a brand-new Freestyle routine that featured numerous highlights including their phenomenal final line. It was a father-son one-two, with the success of Everdale, the sire of Charlotte’s Imhotep, proving the strength of this bloodline.

Third place went to Becky Moody and her homebred Jagerbomb with a score of 83.675%. The combination was not only making their debut at the Show, but also in the FEI World Cup Qualifier Series. The highest placed international rider was Denise Nekeman, who scored a personal best of 77.035% to claim the fourth spot.

Speaking on her win, Dujardin stated: “This was Imhotep’s first indoor show, and it was a full house tonight; you could hear the crowd in the warm-up, which was really incredible. I was so proud of him; he has never been in that kind of atmosphere before, and so it was a great learning experience for him. Even though he was nervous, he was still with me, which is all I can ask for. He is still a young horse and has so much more to give. I am very excited for what is to come next year!”

Third placed Moody continued: “You dream about riding at this Show. It is somewhere that we all aspire to compete at. I was incredibly nervous in the buildup, and my horse is a legend. Being on the podium with Lottie Fry and Charlotte Dujardin is amazing. They both inspire me on a daily basis. They are incredible role models, and it is incredible being sat next to them. But I do have every intention of beating them in the future!”

THE STARS OF THE FUTURE

24 British pairings faced the challenging 1.45m course in the Yeti Under 25 British Show Jumping Championship. The difficulty of the course became evident as the initial three combinations encountered issues with early faults. The fourth participant, Oliver Fletcher, son of Tina Fletcher – one of Britain’s leading female riders of recent decades – rode Hello William, owned by Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham, securing the first flawless performance of the competition. The second faultless round was delivered by Alexander McLean and Gino F, who wisely steadied their stride in the triple combination towards the finish, a section that posed challenges for many. The third clear round came from the winner of the 2023 Ella Popely Award, the Shane Breen-trained Lauren Caroline, riding Gait L.

By halfway – after Nicole Lockhead Anderson, with the small but mighty chestnut stallion I Am a Harley, and Jennifer Billington, with Flipper Darco Uk Z, both jumped clear rounds – it meant only those with a faultless first round score would progress to the jump-off. To take the total number of second-round contenders to eight, there were three more clears from Jessica Hewlett, followed by London International Horse Show Ambassador and the Show’s 2022 leading rider, Jodie Hall McAteer, as well as Antonia Platt and Marvin van de Waterhoeve – 2023’s Royal Windsor Horse Show Under 25 Grand Prix winners.

The eight-fence jump-off had the audience gripped to their seats, with the young riders giving their all to win. The number of strides between the penultimate and last fence proved to be the differentiating factor in overall time. Jennifer Billington and Flipper Darco Uk Z led from the outset, being the only clear with the next to follow all having four faults – often, including the likes of Oliver Fletcher, heartbreakingly at the last fence. The only other clear round came from Scotsman Alexander McLean and the meticulously careful Gino F, who, building on their intelligently crafted first round, jumped fence one on an angle, taking out one stride to the second fence, resulting in them becoming champions.

Speaking on his win, McLean said: “I am over the Moon. I didn’t think we were going to be anywhere near fast enough, but we battled hard and performed under the pressure. I’m so proud of Gino; he has done so much for me over the last two years and is the horse of a lifetime. The atmosphere at the London International Horse Show is fantastic; it’s my second time competing here and I love this show – it’s one of the best shows in Britain by far, with a great Christmas feel to it.”

STUNNING SHOWING TO START THE NEW SERIES IN THE NEW HORIZON PLASTICS LONDON ARENA
Written by Nicola Jane Swinney

It is appropriate that the Showing programme for the London International Horse Show began with the Rising Stars sections — looking forward to the New Year with some names to watch.

Sections include Hunters and Cobs, and there was plenty to like. Sarah Moreland, who won the opening class for Small and Lightweight Hunter Types, was quite overcome, kissing her beloved horse before pulling herself together to comment, admitting she was “quite emotional.”

Coulthard, a bay gelding bred in Aberdeenshire, means everything to Sarah, not least because when buying him four years ago, she had to choose between him and a car.

“He is incredible,” she said. “He does everything. He also jumps so we are doing the Working Hunter class on Saturday.”

The judges, Robert Walker and Jenny Banks, clearly agreed with Sarah’s opinion of her splendid horse, awarding him the Rising Stars Hunter Type Championship over the Middleweight and Heavyweight winner, Eleanor Liddle riding Val Doidge’s Cu Chulainn Carrabawn Rebel. A former hunt horse, Bruce — which is much easier to say — has taken to showing with aplomb, although he hasn’t always been easy. Hunt horses are not used to standing still!

Relishing the atmosphere at the London venue, Carly Chapman and Frazer Foxes Covert headed the Rising Stars Heavyweight Cob class and claimed the Championship.

“It was a fantastic experience; the ring is absolutely great and he gave me a great spin in the go-round, so I’m really delighted,” said Carly. She was enthusiastic about the new venue at the ExCel, the New Horizon Plastics London Arena, saying the atmosphere was “really buzzy.”

The Maxi Cob class and reserve went to Alex George and his six-year-old Paulines Boy, who, he says, “has done very well for a young horse, very well behaved. He’s a good boy.”

The electric atmosphere at this centre is appreciated by riders, horses, and the public alike, and the showing classes over the next few days look set to end 2023 on a high note.

More information about The London International Horse Show can be found at www.londonhorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact: Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

Britain’s Dressage Golden Girls in Action at London International Horse Show

Lottie Fry at London International Horse Show (London International Horse Show/Peter Nixon)

Organisers of London International Horse Show have confirmed a stellar list of international Dressage entries to this year’s edition of the Show which runs from 13-18 December at ExCeL London.

The Show will host FEI World Cup™ action in three disciplines, including the CDI5* Dressage that takes place on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 December, with a new presenting sponsor – Bret Willson Dressage International Ltd, supported by long-time sponsor Horse & Hound. Britain’s golden girls of Dressage, Charlotte Fry and Charlotte Dujardin, head the high-quality list of entries for the 2023 FEI Dressage World Cup™ competition at London International Horse Show.

2022 double FEI Dressage World Champion, Fry, will be looking to reclaim the titles that she won at the Show last year, when she took home both the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix and the Freestyle to Music. This year, Fry – a London International Horse Show ambassador – will bring her Olympic bronze medal-winning mount Everdale, with whom she won the CDIO5* Grand Prix Freestyle to Music at Compiègne earlier this year.

Looking ahead to the Show, Fry said: “The London International Horse Show is one of my favourite shows of the year. Being able to compete at this level in front of my home fans is very special, and there is always an amazing atmosphere. The 2022 Show was incredible for me, and I hope to be able to do the same again.”

Fry’s British teammate, Dujardin, will return to the Show where she achieved her World Record breaking performances with her Olympic gold medal winning partner, Valegro. Dujardin has had an impressive season following the birth of her daughter in March. Having made a successful international comeback at Royal Windsor Horse Show, Dujardin and Imhotep – the horse she will bring to London – have gone from strength to strength, including winning team gold, individual silver in the Grand Prix, and individual bronze in the Freestyle, with a score of over 90%, at the FEI European Championships in Riesenbeck in September.

Compatriot Lewis Carrier was another to have a strong performance at Royal Windsor, and will head to London with Diego V, a KWPN warmblood he has produced himself from a four-year-old. Also achieving a podium position at Royal Windsor was Emile Faurie, who will ride Bellevue in London. Adding to the British entries and looking to impress selectors ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be Becky Moody, riding Jagerbomb – the horse she rode to victory in the CDI3* Freestyle to Music at both Hickstead and Hartpury and at the LeMieux National Dressage Championships during the summer.

The home riders will be challenged by a strong international contingent. France’s Morgan Barbançon will partner Sir Donnerhall II, a horse who recently led her to victory in the Freestyle to Music at CDI-W Wierzbna Bialy Las, and with whom Barbançon has competed at multiple championships. Fellow French rider, Alexandre Ayache, will also make the trip to London with his FEI European Championship mount Jolene.

The sole representative from Germany comes from United Kingdom based Kathleen Kröncke, whilst Caroline Chew will represent Singapore aboard Blue Hors Zatchmo, and Abigail Lyle will ride Giraldo for Ireland.

For tickets to London International Horse Show, please visit www.londonhorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

British Dressage Riders Line Up to Compete at London International Horse Show

Gareth Hughes riding Classic Briolinca at London International Horse Show 2022 (London International Horse Show/Peter Nixon)

The FEI Dressage World Cup™ competition at London International Horse Show is one of the key events at the Show and has, in the past, seen some of the most important record-breaking achievements in the sport. This year, Bret Willson Dressage International Ltd is the new presenting sponsor and the class continues to be supported by Horse & Hound. The competition is set to feature some of the world’s best Dressage combinations including several of Britain’s most accomplished riders.

Taking place on the first two days of the Show, the Grand Prix provides a fitting opening on Wednesday 13 December, and the Freestyle to Music is always an exciting end to the competition on the evening of Thursday 14 December.

Last year, Great Britain’s double world championship-winning combination, Lottie Fry and the 12-year-old black stallion Glamourdale, wowed both the audiences and judges with their spell-binding performances, featuring their immaculate piaffe, passage, and signature extended canter to take home both the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix and the Freestyle to Music.

The London International Horse Show provides one of the final chances for British riders to impress selectors on home soil before Paris 2024 Olympic selection. Whilst entries are yet to be confirmed for this year, spectators can expect to see breathtaking and inspirational performances from elite dressage riders, including members of the British gold medal-winning team from this summer’s FEI European Championships.

British Olympic Dressage rider and Dressage consultant to the Show, Richard Davison, stated, “British Dressage is in fantastic shape at the moment with many new combinations starting to compete at top level. This class in London is the pinnacle of the sport in the UK where we have seen many records, and hearts, broken. I know that my fellow British riders, Carl Hester, Charlotte Dujardin, and Lottie Fry, are really looking forward to getting back in the International Arena again to show what they and their horses are made of. All British riders fight for a place at the Show and this year Becky Moody and Lewis Carrier stand as good a chance as any to make the cut.”

Dressage aficionados can also watch Richard in action when he presents the LeMieux Dressage Masterclass on the afternoon of Thursday 14 December in the Show’s new arena – the New Horizon Plastics London Arena. Richard will appear alongside his compatriot, Gareth Hughes, and Gareth’s daughter Ruby, who has had a very successful year in Young Rider classes, plus the audience can watch medal winning eventer, Yasmin Ingham, being put through her dressage paces.

For tickets to the FEI Dressage World Cup™ presented by Bret Willson Dressage International Ltd and supported by Horse & Hound, please click here.

For more information, please contact:
Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

Brittany Burson Dominates with Five Regional Champion Titles en Route to 2023 US Dressage Finals

Brittany Burson and Fiorenza. John Borys Photography

October 13, 2023 – Lexington, KY – The second of three weekends of 2023 Great American Insurance Group (GAIG)/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Regional Championships, held across a total of nine USDF regions, offered more riders the chance to pick up qualifying berths for the 2023 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® at the Kentucky Horse Park on November 9-12.

Five for Burson at Region 4

At Fourth Level it was Furst Emilio’s turn in the spotlight — once he overcame his fear of the spotted horse in the warm-up arena. Patricia Joy’s 13-year-old gelding by Fürst Fugger is another bought from Germany unseen during the pandemic, and was intended for Joy, but he can be complicated, so Burson is sharing the ride with his 70-year-old owner.

Linda Phifer’s seven-year-old Leonardo Z delivered Burson’s fifth victory. The Glamourdale son clinched the Third Level Freestyle with 74.688% and was reserve champion in the opening class with 71.188%. Leonardo has recently jumped up the levels.

Growing and Winning Together in Region 4

It was a memorable weekend for Adult Amateur (AA) Casey Eiten. Not only did she and the 14-year-old Eschaton win the Region 4 Intermediate II Championship title with 60.074%, but they also contested their first ever Grand Prix, gaining a score towards the rider’s USDF Gold Medal in one of the warm-up recognized classes that ran alongside the Regional classes. Eiten, who is 28 years old now, was 15 when she and her parents bought Eschaton, and they have climbed the competition ladder together.

“We didn’t know very much about what kind of baby horses we were looking for,” admitted Eiten, who liked the look of the young son of Sir Sinclair. “He was actually born and bred at the farm where I took lessons, and the breeding seemed right. I was out there every day when I was younger, getting him used to all the little stuff, like brushing and bringing him in.

“We started him, and I was the first person on him. It’s kind of crazy because I went through high school and college and now my adult career and life with him; he’s been there with me through it all. I feel really lucky that he turned out the way he did.”

Allen’s Four Wins Dominate Region 5

Adult Amateur Andria Allen had a stellar show at the Region 5 Championships on September 29 – October 1 in Scottsdale, AZ with her two horses. She scooped three Regional Championship titles and a reserve with the six-year-old Dutch-bred Mardeaux (Ferdeaux x Connoisseur) and Keno SSF (Governor x Contango).

Her double champion Mardeaux — at Second and Third Level — was yet another bought unseen from the Netherlands two years ago, mid-pandemic, and has been a little challenging since he arrived.

A fresh approach to saddle fitting has been the key for Allen’s other ride, the eight-year-old Keno SSF, whom she bought in-vitro from Shooting Star Farms.

“He’s such a big powerful horse, and as a five-year-old he was so naughty,” she explained. “We found a little bit of kissing spine, not much, but it needs managing. My Colorado trainer rode him in a different saddle — a Dresch — that sits further forward so the scapula can go underneath it. It puts my weight about four inches further forward, and it’s been an absolute game changer for Keno.”

Stacey Knox and Frosty Fox led an enormous Region 4 Second Level AA class, putting down an unassailable 71.429%, which was the only score above 70% out of the 25 starters. The seven-year-old Hanoverian by Floris Prince finished third at the Region 4 Championships in 2022 at First Level, and will be making his first trip to Finals.

The 2023 US Dressage Finals will be held November 9-12 in Lexington, KY at the Kentucky Horse Park, and is a national championship competition that showcases the Adult Amateur and Open divisions. Classes run at Training Level through Grand Prix, plus divisions for Junior/Young Riders at Training Level through Fourth Level. There is $120,000 in prize money up for grabs over the four days. Learn more at www.usdf.org/usdressagefinals/index.asp.

Founded in 1973, the United States Dressage Federation is a non-profit membership organization dedication to education, recognition of achievement, and promotion of dressage. For more information about USDF membership or programs, visit www.usdf.org or e-mail usdressage@usdf.org

By Alice Collins for Jump Media/USDF

High Excitement in the Final Day of Para Dressage Team Competition

Charlotte Cundall (GBR) riding FJ Veyron in the team test Grade V © FEI/Leanjo de Koster

Sweden Qualifies for Paris

The excitement for the team rankings has been high at the FEI Para Dressage European Championships in Riesenbeck. Not only were the evident glory of team medals at stake, but for one team, a good result meant a nation spot for the Paralympic Games in Paris next year.

As the top placed team not already qualified for the Games would earn that spot, the stakes were high for countries such as Ireland, Austria, and Sweden. The last Austrian rider Bernd Brugger was also the last rider of the day, so tension was drawn out to the very end. It was therefore a happy and relieved Swedish team that found themselves in possession of a nation’s qualification for Paris 2024.

Mette Ubbesen, Swedish team trainer, says: “I am so excited! I think the riders have been doing a great job. For the last 10 months I have worked with them, they have just been getting better and better and they have worked so hard. Our plan for these championships was to qualify the team for Paris, but we didn’t quite believe in it. But we actually succeeded!”

The Netherlands takes Team Gold once again

The defending European Championship team from 2019 in Rotterdam has just reclaimed their title here at the FEI Para Dressage European Championships in Riesenbeck. For a long time, it looked like it could be German gold, but then the European championship debutant Demi Haerkens (Grade IV) and her super mare EHL Daula entered the arena. The pair absolutely smashed it in the Grand Prix B and were rewarded with outstanding 79.730%.

Not only did they have the highest score of the day, but more importantly, they put the Netherlands in gold position. Before her, Frank Hosmar (Grade V) riding Alphaville N.O.P. and Lotte Krijnsen (Grade III) on Rosenstolz N.O.P. had laid a strong fundament for the gold. Finally, Sanne Voets (Grade IV) and Demantur RS2 N.O.P. sealed the deal and brought the team score up to an impressive 232.637%.

In the end, the German team consisting of Heidemarie Dresing (Grade II) on Horse24 Dooloop, Melanie Wienand (III) on Lemony’s Loverboy, Martina Benzinger (Grade I) on Nautika, and Regine Mispelkamp (Grade V) on Highlander Delight’s took the silver medal with a total score of 226.979%.

On bronze, we have the super ladies from Great Britain, Georgia Wilson (Grade II) riding Sakura, Gabby Blake (Grade I) on Strong Beau, Charlotte Cundall (Grade V) on FJ Veyron, and Sophie Wells (Grade V) on LJT Egebjerggards Samoa finishing with a total score of 222.663%.

National trainer for the Netherlands, Joyce Heuitink, speaking after the final result: “I am incredibly happy, and I am more than proud. I think from most of them, it was a pure masterclass! It gave me goosebumps and tears during the test already, because it was so nice and effortless and beautiful and mistake-free. I have riders that perform under pressure and they have to show it every show, which is never a guarantee, but once again they have proven that they can perform under pressure, which also makes me extremely proud that you can rely on such good riding.”

Find out more HERE.

by Stinne Tange

press@fei.org
www.fei.org

Great Britain Takes the Lead on Opening Day at Riesenbeck

Carl Hester and Fame. (FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

Great Britain took the early lead in the team standings on the opening day of the FEI Dressage European Championship 2023 in Riesenbeck, Germany.

A breathtaking Grand Prix performance from 56-year-old veteran Carl Hester with his relatively new ride, the 13-year-old gelding Fame, earned 78.540 for the biggest score of the day, giving his country a narrow advantage over Germany in second place, while Denmark slotted into third.

Austria and Spain, both fighting for one of the three team spots on offer for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, are in overnight fourth and fifth places. France and The Netherlands share that fifth place with the Spanish after all three sides finished on exactly the same scoreline.

The team medals are decided over two days, so another 33 horse-and-rider combinations will compete in the Grand Prix tomorrow before the podium places are confirmed.

Strong target

Mathias Alexander Rath set the first strong target when putting 74.845 on the board with the stallion Thiago GS. “He felt really fresh yesterday at the vet-check; you could see he had a lot of energy and a lot of power. Today I was super-happy how he behaved in the arena; you have to remember that he’s just ten years old and still developing and still at the beginning of his career,” the German team pathfinder pointed out.

Daniel Bachmann Andersen and the 12-year-old stallion Vayron then put Denmark on the map when slotting in behind the German pair on a score of 74.146, despite losing a shoe in the corner of the arena at the end of the final extended trot.

“Going down the centreline he was fine, but then I went outside and I felt he wasn’t lame, but he felt different. The shoe came clear off and the hoof is perfect, so we just have to get it back on!” he said afterwards.

He described Vayron as “a very green horse; he’s in his very first Grand Prix season – I think this was his eighth Grand Prix in his life.” He said he’s been riding the horse for just over a year, “and we’ve grown together; we had to find each other. He was educated by a top rider (Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg), but with a complete other length of body and body strength, so I had to get to know him and we had to do some things differently. And I had to give him some show experience, as he hasn’t been going to many shows,” the tall Dane explained.

Then Gareth Hughes got even closer to Rath’s score with a lovely performance from the mare Classic Briolinca. After putting 74.565 on the board, the British rider said, “I’m over the moon with her. I thought it was one of the best tests she’s done! Very clean, no real mistakes; I was slightly disappointed with the mark but so happy with the mare.” The horse has been a much-loved member of the Hughes family since she was three years of age.

“She’s 17 now and has done several championships and she’s been amazing for me and amazing for the team,” he added.

Leaderboard

As the first day was drawing to a close, the legend that is Isabell Werth produced a new leading score of 77.174 from DSP Qantaz. “I think it was his best competition this year! He was more relaxed and not fighting; it was easy-going, so that was really nice to feel.”

The 13-year-old gelding competed in the FEI Dressage World Cup™ series over the winter months to give him more experience, “and I think that was quite helpful. And then we had a little break… and the next was Aachen,” she explained.

She is really enjoying the facilities at Riesenbeck. “The venue is very super; it’s so professional in the infrastructure, so great, especially now in this temperature and with this weather. When the horses are in the stables, it is cool and the air is fresh, so the conditions are perfect.” It has been extremely hot all week, with temperatures reaching over 30 degrees C.

Werth was followed into the ring by Andreas Helgstrand and the extravagant young stallion Jovian who slotted into fifth behind Hughes and pushed Bachmann Andersen down to sixth when posting 74.410.

The Danish pair was late into the warm-up arena because Jovian lost a shoe, but neither horse nor rider lost their cool.

“He’s a horse you need a big driving licence for!” Helgstrand said. Jovian was very full of himself this morning, so he took him for a walk.

“My strategy was to get him to calm down so I could show that walk (in the test) and the walk was there. I couldn’t make it as good as I wanted in piaffe and passage, but at the end of the day I’m happy. He’s a dream horse, and in one more year he will be very, very nice!” he added.

Master-class

Third-last to go, Carl Hester then put Great Britain out in front with a master-class in the art of horsemanship. “If I never did another test again, it would be a lovely one to finish on!” said the six-time Olympian, after putting 78.540 on the board with Fame for the biggest score of the opening day, and with a test that had the crowd roaring in appreciation as the pair moved into their final halt.

“I absolutely love this horse. I worship riding him. I look forward to riding him every day!” he said of the 13-year-old gelding that was formerly competed by team-mate Fiona Bigwood, but who was offered to Hester at the end of last year due to her busy life full of family commitments. “She always said this one’s for you when she was riding him, and she was right; it was love at first ride!” Hester said.

He described Fame as “very spicy and hot” and “a full-time job. It’s not just a case of get on him. He’s in the field all day, he’s a stallion, he goes out all day in his paddock, and you have to manage him so he relaxes.

“He’s the kind of horse I love, a bit quirky and hot but wonderful and kind. You need someone who has time to ride a horse like that… he wants to go, but he’s the kindest person in the stable and with children and other horses… there’s not been a morning since January when I haven’t thought I can’t wait to get on him!” he said.

Stands tallest

Meanwhile, in the race for Olympic qualification, it is Team Austria that stands tallest, their top score of 71.724 from Florian Bacher and Fidertraum OLD giving them the edge over the Spanish who also posted two 70 percent scores, the best of which came from Alejandro Sánchez del Barco with the charming PRE stallion Quincallo de Indalo, who earned a mark of 71.584.

It will be quite something if Austria can succeed in taking one of the Olympic slots in Dressage this week, just days after their Jumping team earned their ticket to Paris next year against all the odds at the FEI Jumping European Championship 2023 in Milan (ITA).

Florian Bacher believes they can do it. “It’s looking quite good!” he said after his impressive ride with the 14-year-old Fidertraum, who is competing in his fifth championship.

Startlists and Results here.

by Louise Parkes

press@fei.org
www.fei.org

Davison and Hughes to Host London Int’l Horse Show’s ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ Masterclass

Photo Credit: London International Horse Show

Organisers of The London International Horse Show 2023 have announced an exciting addition to the LeMieux Masterclass Series: ‘Dressage Unwrapped,’ featuring World Eventing Champion, Yasmin Ingham, who was part of the British team to win a European gold medal earlier this month.

The Masterclass will take place in the New Horizon Plastics London Arena – a new arena being introduced at the 2023 Show – on Thursday 14 December, and aims to provide both amateurs and experienced riders with Dressage tips and tricks that riders can put into practice at home. The hour-long session will be co-presented by Dressage World Championship silver medallists Gareth Hughes and Richard Davison, who will work with both Ingham and the up-and-coming Dressage young rider, Ruby Hughes, daughter of Gareth.

British Olympic Dressage rider Davison is no stranger to the London International, having competed at the Show for over 20 years, a tenure during which he has represented Great Britain at multiple Championships, most recently at the 2022 FEI World Championships in Herning, where alongside his co-host Hughes, he won a team silver medal. Hughes is also part of the British Dressage team heading to the 2023 FEI European Championships in Reisenbeck in September. The pair will be perfectly placed to provide the audience with guidance and insights on expert training routines.

World individual and European team Eventing Champion Yasmin Ingham will be demonstrating the advised practices and is sure to provide a spectacle for the Show’s audience.

Ingham will be joined in the arena by 16-year-old Ruby Hughes, who has had a successful year in international Young Rider classes, including recent team and individual victories at Hickstead. The former Vaulting competitor has made huge strides on the Dressage circuit in only her second year competing in Dressage internationally. Together, the quartet of Davison, Hughes, Ingham, and Hughes will bring unique qualities and experiences to the Masterclass to provide an insight into how they train and prepare for competition at the highest level.

Davison said, “Having been involved with the Dressage Unwrapped Masterclasses at the London International Horse Show last year, I’m even more excited to be presenting this latest edition, as I know how beneficial it can be for the audience. The addition of Gareth, Yas, and Ruby will make this Masterclass completely unique and will, I hope, provide a really exciting and informative session.”

Simon Brooks-Ward, Show Director, said, “The LeMieux Masterclass Series provides fantastic opportunities for world-class riders to share their knowledge with an eager-to-learn audience, and I have no-doubt that Richard and Gareth will deliver on every dimension regarding this. It is a great privilege to welcome Yasmin, who has achieved so much over the last 12 months, and Ruby, a star of the future, to make this Masterclass truly unmissable.”

More information about The London International Horse Show, including how to buy tickets, can be found here.

For more information, please contact:
Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com