1. BD Abroad: Waregem CDI3*/CDIJY

    The British contingent enjoyed success at Waregem CDI in Belgium last week (14 – 17 September 2017).

    Rebecca Bell did herself proud winning both the Junior Team test with 72.568% and the Junior Freestyle test with 75.875% aboard her mum Caroline’s Nibeley Union Hit (pictured), a ten-year-old daughter of Nibeley Union Jack. The pair’s emotive Freestyle was executed with precision and style for a super international personal best of 75.876%.

    Eighteen-year-old Rebecca, who was a member of the gold medal-winning British Pony team of 2015 where she also achieved Freestyle eighth, was thrilled with ‘Una’ on the mare’s first overseas CDI.

    “On the way back from Dressuur Waregem after an amazing week,” said Rebecca on Facebook. “The showground was great with good surfaces and facilities and the organising committee was so lovely and always wanting to help - thank you for making us so welcome! Una was such a pro on her first trip abroad, taking everything in in her lovely considered way, and our results were above and beyond my expectations- 3 +70 scores culminating in 75.875% to win the Kür today! Hearing the national anthem played for this mare after all we've worked through to get here did bring on the emotions - but I promise I didn't cry!”

    World Class Podium Potential rider Sarah Millis was happy with the performances of her two rides – the huge 11-year-old gelding Behroez (United x Gribaldi) and Hofjuwel, Katja Kuistila’s Hofrat-sired 12-year-old. Behroez, who’s affectionately known as ‘Boss’ was fourth in the PSG and second in the Inter I both with plus-71% scores, whilst Hofjuwel aka Hoff was sixth in the Grand Prix and third in the Special.

    “I’m delighted with Boss,” smiled Sarah. “After a good result at Hickstead CDI I’m thrilled with his consistency and positive attitude at Waregem. He's growing in confidence each time and we’re very excited about the future. His pirouettes were high quality and for a big horse this is impressive. I’m now able to harness the power more efficiently and put it to good use.

    “Hoff was very good In the Grand Prix but too many small errors were costly. The Grand Prix Special was a test of two parts, the trot work was very good but the canter programme was not so strong which was partly my fault. There’s some things to work on but overall I was very happy with him. When it all comes together it'll be great.”

    Big Tour

    Grand Prix
    1st Stephanie de Frel with Beach Boy, 69.100% (NED)
    6th Sarah Millis with Hofjuwel, 66.480% (GBR)
    9th Anna Ross with Wydny, 65.600% (GBR)

    Grand Prix Special
    1st Stephanie de Frel with Beach Boy, 69.196% (NED)
    3rd Sarah Millis with Hofjuwel, 65.529% (GBR)

    Grand Prix Freestyle
    1st Tosca Visser with Asther de Jeu, 73.865% (NED)
    5th Anna Ross with Wydny, 68.720% (GBR)

    Small Tour
    Prix St Georges
    1st Lynne Maas with Electra, 73.789% (NED)
    4th Sarah Millis with Behroez, 71.605% (GBR)
    11th Ellen McCarthy with Donna Summer, 67.316% (GBR)
    15th Stephanie Eardley with Pina Colada, 65.711% (GBR)
    16th Sally Bell with State Secret, 64.105% (GBR)

    Intermediate I
    1st Lynne Maas with Electra, 73.711% (NED)
    2nd Sarah Millis with Behroez, 71.684% (GBR)
    11th Ellen McCarthy with Donna Summer, 67.579% (GBR)
    17th Sally Bell with State Secret, 62.605% (GBR)

    Intermediate I Freestyle
    1st Lynne Maas with Electra, 77.100% (NED)
    11th Ellen McCarthy with Donna Summer, 69.330% (GBR)
    14th Sally Bell with State Secret, 64.720% (GBR)

    CDIY - Young Riders
    Young Rider Team Test
    1st Febe van Zwambagt with FS Las Vegas, 69.737% (NED)
    9th Anna Jesty with Aquiro, 64.781% (GBR)

    Young Rider Individual Test
    1st Febe van Zwambagt with FS Las Vegas, 74.474% (NED)
    3rd Anna Jesty with Aquiro, 68.816% (GBR)

    Young Rider Freestyle
    1st Febe van Zwambagt with FS Las Vegas, 77.642% (NED)
    6th Anna Jesty with Aquiro, 69.667% (GBR)

    CDIJ – Juniors
    Junior Team Test
    1st Rebecca Bell with Nibeley Union Hit, 72.568% (GBR)

    Junior Individual Test
    1st Milou Dees with Francesco, 71.447% (NED
    2nd Rebecca Bell with Nibeley Union Hit, 71.184% (GBR)

    Junior Freestyle
    1st Rebecca Bell with Nibeley Union Hit, 75.875% (GBR)

    For full results click here.

    Photo courtesy of Chris Coessens Photography.

  2. BD Abroad: Darmstadt-Kranichstein and Saumur

    The following riders have been selected to represent Great Britain at Darmstadt-Kranichstein CDI4* in Germany, 21 - 24 September 2017.

    Big Tour
    Emile Faurie (53) from Milton-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire with Elena Knyaginicheva’s Delatio (bay stallion, 13yrs, s. De Niro, ds. Rubinstein I).
    Emma Hindle (42) from Sale, Manchester with her own Romy Del Sol (brown mare, 17.3hh, 11yr, ds. Romanov Blue Hors).
    Spencer Wilton (44) from Brimpton, Berkshire with Jen Goodman’s Super Nova - pictured - (dark brown gelding, 16.3hh, 14yrs, s. De Niro, ds. Weltmeyer).

    For start lists and results click here.
    Watch the action on

    The following riders have been selected to represent Great Britain at Saumur CDI3*/CDI2* in France, 21 – 24 September 2017.

    Big Tour
    Louise Bell (46) from Banbury, Oxfordshire with her own Into the Blue (roan gelding, 16.2hh, s. Ublesco, ds. Calvaro Z).
    Steph Croxford (46) from Matlock, Derbyshire with her own Mr Hyde (bay gelding, 16.2hh, 12yrs).
    Michael Eilberg (30) from Beoley, Worcestershire with Ferdi Eilberg’s Marakov (bay gelding, 16.3hh, 17yrs, s. Rufus, ds. Mitjulands).
    Sara Gallop (31) from Gloucester, Gloucestershire with Richard Gallop’s Summerhouse Zelham (bay gelding, 16hh, 13yrs, s. Sir Sinclair, ds. Belisar).

    Middle Tour
    Maria Eilberg (33) from Beoley, Worcestershire with her own, Penny Pollard & Hermione Black’s Royal Concert (grey gelding, 16.3hh, 14yrs, s. Royal Diamond, ds. Continue).
    Michael Eilberg with Alison Ramseir’s Fuerst Sinclair (bay gelding, 17hh, 14yrs, s. Fürst Heinrich, ds. Lord Sinclair).
    Sara Gallop with Richard Gallop’s Bandreo (bay stallion, 16.2hh, 11yrs, s. Sandreo, ds. Bruin).
    Kirsty Mepham (48) from Isfield, East Sussex with Rebecca Vinter & Anne Baldock’s Minain (brown mare, 16.2hh, 14yrs, s. Idocus, ds. Michellino).

    Small Tour
    Sonia Baines (42) from Chesterfield, Derbyshire with Gemma Owen’s Sirius Black (black gelding, 17hh, 12yrs, s. Stedinger, ds. Rotspon).
    Maria Eilberg with Farah Al Khojai’s Sarotti 57 (bay gelding, 16.3hh, 10yrs, s. Sir Donnerhall, ds. Cagliostro XX).
    Natalie Kayal (34) from Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire with her own Bravo (grey gelding, 17hh, 11yrs, s. Sydney, ds. Casanova).
    Kate Smith (37) from Beech, Hampshire with her own De La Veiga (chestnut gelding, 16.2hh, 10yrs, s. Dimaggio, ds. Weltmeyer).

    For start lists and results click here

  3. Petplan Equine Area Festival Finals

    We're on final countdown for the start of our first ever Petplan Equine Area Festival Finals!  The new format is proving popular with participation up 13% in the Area Festivals so far and the Final venues reporting great entries.  In anticipation of the first Finals, here's the lowdown on qualification on to the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships at Hartpury next April.

    Numbers Qualifying from Petplan Equine Area Festival Finals
    1) The number qualifying from each Area Festival Final class will depend on the number of starters in that particular class, according to the conversion charts. The number of qualifications per level varies according to the total number of horses qualified for the Area Festival Finals and the number of spaces available at the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships.
    2) Combinations scoring below 63% will not be eligible for qualification for the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championship as stated in the British Dressage Rule Book, unless it's by a wild card.
    3) A ‘starter’ is a horse that actually enters the competition arena and goes down the centre line, even if it withdraws before finishing.
    4) The number of starters will not be known until the class is finished, after which the organiser will calculate how many have qualified and mark them on the scoreboard. The number of direct qualifications will be announced at the prize giving. Everyone who has qualified must collect a qualification certificate from the secretary before leaving the showground. 
    5) Official entry packs will be emailed / posted to the rider directly from the BD Office in plenty of time for entries to be made to the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championship in April 2018.
    6) The names of the combinations awarded wild cards will be put on the BD website. These spaces will be filled by the highest scoring unqualified combinations from all the Area Festival Finals. The rider will be notified by the office that they’ve been given a wild card and their qualification pack will be sent by post.
    Numbers to qualify
    Please note: scores must be 63% and above to qualify to the Championships
    PRELIM BRONZE: 1 in 8 qualify
    1 – 8 = 1 qualifies
    9– 16 = 2 qualify
    17 – 24 = 3 qualify
    25 – 32 = 4 qualify
    33 – 40 = 5 qualify
    PRELIM SILVER: 1 in 7 qualify
    1 -  7 = 1 qualifies
    8 -  14 = 2 qualify
    15 -21 = 3 qualify
    22 - 28 = 4 qualify
    29 – 35 = 5 qualify
    PRELIM UNDER 18: 1 in 5 qualify
    1 – 5 = 1 qualifies
    6 – 10 = 2 qualify
    11 – 15= 3 qualify
    16 – 20 = 4 qualify
    NOVICE BRONZE: 1 in 8 qualify
    1 – 8 = 1 qualifies
    9– 16 = 2 qualify
    17 – 24 = 3 qualify
    25 – 32 = 4 qualify
    33 – 40 = 5 qualify
    NOVICE SILVER: 1 in 11 qualify
    1 – 11 = 1 qualifies
    12– 22 = 2 qualify
    23 – 33 = 3 qualify
    34 – 44 = 4 qualify
    NOVICE UNDER 18: 1 in 5 qualify
    1 – 5 = 1 qualifies
    6– 10 = 2 qualify
    11 – 15 = 3 qualify
    16 – 20 = 4 qualify
    ELEMENTARY BRONZE: 1 in 10 qualify
    1 – 10 = 1 qualifies
    11 – 20 = 2 qualify
    21 – 30 = 3 qualify
    31 – 40 = 4 qualify
    ELEMENTARY SILVER:1 in 10 qualify
    1 – 10 = 1 qualifies
    11 – 20 = 2 qualify
    21 – 30 = 3 qualify
    31 – 40 = 4 qualify
    ELEMENTARY UNDER 18:1 in 3 qualify
    1 – 3 = 1 qualifies
    4– 6 = 2 qualify
    7 – 9 = 3 qualify
    10 – 12 = 4 qualify
    MEDIUM BRONZE:1 in 9 qualify
    1 – 9 = 1 qualifies
    10 – 18 = 2 qualify
    19 – 27 = 3 qualify
    28 – 36 = 4 qualify
    MEDIUM SILVER: 1 in 8 qualify
    1 – 8 = 1 qualifies
    9– 16 = 2 qualify
    17 – 24 = 3 qualify
    25 – 32 = 4 qualify
    MEDIUM UNDER 18: 1 in 3 qualify
    1 – 3 = 1 qualifies
    4– 6 = 2 qualify
    7 – 9 = 3 qualify
    10 – 12 = 4 qualify
    ADVANCED MEDIUM BRONZE:1 in 6 qualify
    1 – 6 = 1 qualifies
    7 – 12 = 2 qualify
    13 – 18 = 3 qualify
    19 – 24 = 4 qualify
    ADVANCED MEDIUM SILVER: 1 in 5 qualify
    1 – 5 = 1 qualifies
    6 – 10 = 2 qualify
    11 – 15 = 3 qualify
    16 – 20 = 4 qualify
    PRIX ST GEORGES BRONZE: 1 in 5 qualify
    1 – 5 = 1 qualifies
    6 – 10 = 2 qualify
    11 – 15 = 3 qualify
    PRIX ST GEORGES SILVER: 1 in 5 qualify
    1 – 5 = 1 qualifies
    6 – 10 = 2 qualify
    11 – 15 = 3 qualify
    INTERMEDIATE I BRONZE:  1 in 2 qualify
    1 – 2 = 1 qualifies
    3 – 4 = 2 qualify
    5 – 6 = 3 qualify
    INTERMEDIATE I SILVER: 1 in 3 qualify
    1 – 3 = 1 qualifies
    4 – 6 = 2 qualify
    7 – 9 = 3 qualify
    INTERMEDIATE II SILVER: winner only qualifies 
    Good luck to everyone competing!
  4. Day four: LeMieux National Championships

    There was a dramatic twist on the final day of this year’s LeMieux National Championships, with different combinations taking the Horse Health Grand Prix Freestyle and LeMieux National Champion titles.

    Heading into the Freestyle at the top of the leader board, Lara Butler and the Bechtolsheimer’s 15-year-old Rubin Royal gelding, Rubin Al Asad, pulled off a fantastic performance for a well-earned score of 77.40%. Radio Nationals' John Bowen commented that there was ‘so much quality, it was difficult to choose a highlight’.

    However it was Carl Hester who reigned supreme aboard his new partner, Katherine Bateson’s Alcazar. Dancing to music previously used by Uthopia, Carl and the 12-year-old Contango gelding scored a whopping 78.75% to steal the title and crown of Freestyle Champion once more.

    “I’m thrilled!” enthused Carl. “It was Uthopia’s music, it felt like riding Uthopia and he went like Uthopia. His extended trot was great and he gave me a really fun, happy feeling. He had lots of power in there and he did the technical things really well. Yesterday was my rehearsal and today I had a different ride; I had a happy horse and it was a great performance to end the Championships on. And….I’m one title further away from Charlotte!”

    Of course, it wouldn’t be the Nationals without some form of twist and today’s was a big one. Although Lara won yesterday’s Grand Prix and Carl claimed the Grand Prix Freestyle, their scores were not high enough to earn the top spot so we had a brand new LeMieux National Champion…step forward Hayley Watson-Greaves.

    Riding her long-term partner, her own 13-year-old Rubin Royal gelding WG Rubins Nite, Hayley attained her first ever National title after a fantastic and confidently ridden test with John Bowen commenting that ‘there was not one foot out of place, it was beat perfect. Hayley must be thrilled – there’s definitely a competitor inside her after that performance’.

    Earning a score of 78.43%, Hayley and ‘Squeak’ may have just been pipped to the post for the Freestyle title, however their brilliant performance in the Grand Prix gave them an average score of 76.18% - enough to win the title, an awesome achievement for the duo.

    “I can’t quite believe it, I’m a little bit speechless!” exclaimed an ecstatic Hayley after her prize giving. “He’s just absolutely awesome and tries his heart out every time. I love him [Squeak] to pieces, we have a great partnership and he’s got me where I am today.

    “I know my freestyle really well and I knew the pressure was on because it was so close with the competition, but I love riding him, I just went in there to enjoy it and have fun – which is what I always do with him.”

    With campaigning for the World Cup as their next step, Hayley announced that today is the last time the pair are riding to that music; “I’ve got bits and pieces of my new floor plan as I’d like to make it a little bit more difficult for the World Cup competitions – although I’ve been told that it’s already quite challenging! I’m hoping to run through my floor plan next week and then I’ll be getting Chris Lever, who does my music, to compose it in time for the end of October, hopefully.”

    Childéric Saddles Elementary Gold

    In the Childéric Saddles Elementary Gold, the penultimate competition of Charlotte Dujardin’s epic 2017 LeMieux Nationals campaign, she once again proved unbeatable. The class was awash with exciting combinations for the future, yet Charlotte still had the edge, taking the top two places with her rides.

    This time, it was the turn of the charming chestnut Gio (Apache x Tango) to take top spot on the podium. In yesterday’s TopSpec Medium Gold he lay third behind his stablemates but today was his time to rule, earning 76.91% from judges Penelope Lang (E), Kirsty Mepham (H), Jane Peberdy (C), Claire Ballantyne (M) and Sue McMahon (B). It was Sarah Tyler-Evans’ River Rise Nisa who impressed for second. The gorgeous six-year-old daughter of Negro, who at home is affectionately known as Nancy, was expertly piloted by Charlotte for 76.25% to sit just behind Gio.

    “I just love that horse!” smiled Charlotte after her lap of honour on Gio, the little horse still full of running after an action-packed day in which he also contested the Shearwater six-year-old final. “He’s like a Duracell bunny,” she laughed. “He’s Dutch – they go and go and go – and that’s why I love them.”

    With such a fabulous collection of horses under her charge, it would be impossible for Charlotte to choose a favourite, yet it’s clear that this little horse would be in the running for that label. “He puts a smile on your face every day, even just seeing his face over the stable door,” said Charlotte. “He’s so much fun to ride and just keeps on going, he’s like a little sports car.”

    Clearly excited for the horse’s future, Charlotte said, “He’s so clever and every time I ask a question, he answers. He has so much talent for the Grand Prix work; piaffe, passage, and he does up to one-tempis already.”

    Affectionately known as ‘Pumpkin’, Gio was noticed by Charlotte when she hosted a training clinic in California in the autumn of 2016. Charlotte was instantly taken with the diminutive chestnut and persuaded his owner to let her buy him. “When he arrived home Carl [Hester] said ‘What have you done?’ as Pumpkin was quite small, but now he regrets not having a share in him!”

    Equine Construction Advanced Medium Gold Championship

    It was an early start for Charlotte Dujardin after a mammoth four days but the finishing line was in sight. First on her day’s packed agenda was the Equine Construction Advanced Medium Gold Championship. Her first ride was the grey Vivaldi-sired seven-year-old Florentina VI who claimed the TopSpec Medium title here last year. She laid the gauntlet down with a score of 74.16%.

    Her second ride was in the shape of Ekitof, a leggy black gelding which Carl Hester bought as a two year old for himself from the Van Olsts. It was a similar situation to how he saw Valegro – just lunged in a pen, but Carl said he fell in love with his canter straight away.

    Six years on, Charlotte decided the Zucchero sired gelding needed to compete more so took him to Hartpury Premier League where he won the direct qualifying section to earn his spot at Stoneleigh. ‘Blackie’ has been a tricky youngster and ‘quite cheeky’ but some of his potential was realised today, on only his fifth competitive outing. It wasn’t perfect but the canter work was powerful and impressive and the judges just favoured him over Flora with a score of 74.79%.

    He’s not a horse that I’d naturally choose, he’s not hot enough for me, but Carl absolutely adores him and won’t say a bad word about him. He worships the ground the horse walks on! He said to me ‘you can take this one out’ thinking that I’d say no, but I didn’t. I was surprised how well he went at Hatpury and we won and qualified to come here. When he arrived on Friday, he didn’t want to go down the horse walk, in the arena walk he wiped out some of the boards and basically has said ‘no thank you’ all the time. So I was thinking ‘am I even going to get round’ but we went down the centre line and he just seemed to be on form. He surprised both me and Carl!

    “Although I have to say I’m not impressed about him beating my Flora!”

    Third place went to Jess Dunn and LG Alicante Valley.

    Shearwater British Dressage Young Horse Championships – four, five and six year olds

    Four year olds

    For another year the popular Shearwater Potential International Dressage Horse classes thrilled the fans who travelled to Stoneleigh for the final day of the LeMieux National Dressage Championships. The judges looked closely at the quality, way of going and future potential of all the finalists over a very exciting afternoon of competition.

    Whilst Kerry Makin and Rowan Bryson’s stallion Izonik impressed in the first round it was the combination of the Hanoverian Waverley Dante and Greg Sims to stand out in the final impressing the panel of judges Maria Colliander, Ulf Moller and foreign rider Eva Moller.

    Over Radio Nationals Paul Hayler and the team commented on how well trained and well produced Waverley Dante was, they also discussed his impressive quick hind leg and balance – two factors which without doubt affected the final decision.

    At the end of Eva Moller’s test ride Finnish judge Maria Colliander said ‘At first when he came into the arena I thought he was quite normal but then the more I watched I realised he is a true riding horse. I really liked him, he was well balanced and the more Eva rode him the more the top line developed.’

    British Bred Dante (Dimaggio x Fürst Heinrich) was bought from Waverley Stud by rider Greg Sims as a six-month-old foal; ‘I’ve produced him lightly, he’s done a few local shows and the Shearwater qualifiers so now we’re here. I had hoped to do well but I definitely didn’t expect to win!’

    Greg reaffirmed the judge’s comments stating that the horse’s rideability is one of his best attributes, ‘He’s always been a really chilled out guy and from day one he’s never really put a foot wrong. He’s a real trier - that’s one of his main strengths – his attitude is great and he’s got three fantastic paces. The canter in particular is brilliant and his balance is really quite special’

    2015 Young Professionals Award winner Greg has confirmed that he’s keeping the horse and hopes to train him through the levels towards Grand Prix.

    Five year olds

    It was the battle of the mares in the five year old division which saw four outstanding horses come forward from Saturday’s preliminary round.

    In the end it was another great result for British breeding with Judith Davis’s Hawtins San Floriana coming out on top to gift Charlotte Dujardin her eighth win of the Championships. The bright bay mare by San Amour and out of Hawtins Floriana (Florestan x Weltmeyer) showed her class and potential once again to mirror her winning performance in the four year old competition this time last year.

    ‘Wow that’s a good picture, it looks like an Advanced Medium horse,’ expressed Judy Harvey over Radio Nationals as Eva Moller started her test ride aboard the class winner. The judges were also impressed as Ulf Moller explained, ‘She has a really nice uphill, swinging trot with a nice natural cadence and a nice balance. There is a very nice jump from behind in canter but the rider will have to be careful in the future that there is enough ground cover,’ this was his only slight criticism of the superstar as he concluded, ‘In general I think you’ll all see that the conformation is good and the picture is nice, it’s no wonder she was a winner last year.’

    From the back of San Floriana in her prize giving Charlotte said, ‘I’m keeping her for the six-year-olds next year! She gives an amazing feeling and I have really high hopes for her.’ With ten horses to compete over four days it’s been no mean feat for the Olympic Champion to fit everything in, ‘It’s been a busy week but going down the centre line becomes a normal day of training when you do it so many times. I’ve tried my best and it’s been hard work but it’s a great experience for my horses coming through for the next few years.’

    Second place went to Mount St John Zonetta presented by Amy Woodhead whilst yesterday’s first round winner Helga moved into third place.

    Six year olds

    Jumping off San Floriana and onto Mount St John VIP, Charlotte entered the arena to eventually claim the six-year-old title. Having qualified both VIP and her own chestnut son of Apache, Gio, for the final, Charlotte elected to ride Emma Blundell’s beautiful Vivaldi mare with Sadie Smith piloting the gelding.

    Although a little tension crept in when ride judge Eva Möller first boarded VIP, she soon settled and displayed easy extensions with great balance in all three paces, ‘The training hasn’t been too bad’ laughed judge Maria Colliander as Eva continued to put the horse through its paces before giving the ride back to Charlotte.

    ‘I like the horse’s adjustability and its education, she feels like being at home’ announced Eva as she discussed her thoughts with the judges before heralding the talented mare as the winner.

    Having already earned the Medium Gold title yesterday, Charlotte and VIP are proving to be a real exciting partnership for the future.

    “VIP is slightly more experienced than Gio, which is why I chose to ride her in the Final. I’m very lucky to be working with Mount St John and able to ride such super horses. I’d also like to thank my team, without them it wouldn’t be possible to do what I have done this week.”

    And that’s a wrap for the 2017 LeMieux National Championships, a huge thank you goes out to all competitors and their teams, our sponsors, the Show Direct team, hosts NAEC Stoneleigh and everybody who attended over the past four days – see you next year!

    For full results, click here.

    For interviews with our winners, click here.

    Photos c Kevin Sparrow.

  5. Day three: LeMieux National Championships

    The heavens opened for many today on day three of the LeMieux National Championships in the Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I Freestyle, however a small thing like the weather didn’t stop superstar Charlotte Dujardin from achieving the highest score of the Championships so far, a whopping 81.50% in the Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I Freestyle.

    Riding the Mount St John stud’s eight-year-old Fidermark mare, Mount St John Freestyle, to a Simon and Garfunkel themed soundtrack, Charlotte was also crowned Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I Supreme Champion after her fantastic performance yesterday was combined with today’s score.

    “I’m absolutely thrilled,” announced Charlotte. “It’s my first ever freestyle with her, so I’m over the moon. I felt quite emotional at the end as she gave everything. We were both soaked from head to toe though! We’ve not even practiced the floorplan so I’m super happy with her. It’s music that Carl’s had for about 15 years and was Del’s (Hawtins Delicato) music, there’s a few in the yard who’ve started with it!”

    Speaking to the crowd who braved the weather to catch a glimpse of the Olympian and her exciting up-and-coming star, commentator Andrew Pollard asked how she’s managing to remember the eight different tests she has to ride over the course of this week;

    “I’ve been asking myself that same thing!” She exclaimed. “The hardest thing is getting off one and straight onto another to ride a different test – but somehow I managed to do it today, we’ll see if I can remember tomorrow!

    LeMieux Grand Prix Gold Championship

    Having finishing second in 2015, it was at last Lara Butler’s day in the LeMieux Grand Prix Gold Championship. After performing a sublime test in front of the crowds she earned a score of 73.78% to top the class aboard Dr Bechtolsheimer’s 15-year-old Rubin Al Asad.

    Speaking about her winning test Lara said “He flew in the trot extensions so they were a highlight and the passage was great too – that’s always something I can bank on. Even the half passes were good and they aren’t normally! He was just super, he was flying and he really took me around which was the best feeling.”

    A National Grand Prix title has been long in the pipe line for the elegant combination who’ve scored above 70% in all but two of their tests in 2017. Lara and the Rubin Royal sired gelding known as ‘Rufus’ were also the named reserve for this year’s FEI Longines European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden. About her superstar partner Lara enthused, “He’s just in such great form, he’s so pleased to be back out and proving to everyone how nice and how fit he is – he can still show the young horses how to do it!”

    Despite her good form Lara approached the show not necessarily thinking about the win, ‘I always come out with high hopes and the aim is to do the best I can possibly do, if that means I win then that’s great.”

    Tomorrow’s Horse Health Grand Prix Freestyle final will be an exciting watch as the pack behind Lara aim to catch her up. Hayley Watson Greaves and WG Rubins Nite were hot on her heels and finished a very close second today scoring 73.62% with Carl Hester and Katherine Bateson’s Alcazar taking third place with a solid 71.70%.

    “I love the freestyle it’s the fun bit, so I’m going to enjoy it and hopefully we can do the same as today!” Lara concluded.

    TopSpec Medium Gold Championship

    Another day…another one-two- three. Simple as that. Well, it is if you’re the double Olympic champion and have essentially made the 2017 Nationals your own show. Of course, it wasCharlotte Dujardin who headed the TopSpec Medium Gold Championship this morning.

    The first of her three rides was her own six year old Gio, or Pumpkin as Charlotte calls him. The Apache x Tango gelding scored 73.38% to give his rider an early lead in the class.

    It was then the turn of Mount St John VIP. The Vivaldi-sired six-year-old mare had just competed in the Shearwater Insurance Young Horse preliminary judging so was ‘ring ready’ and it clearly gave her the acclimatisation and confidence to perform to her potential as the judges were bowled over to award 77.73% and her ahead of Pumpkin.

    The final horse of the class was Sarah Tyler-Evans’ River Rise Nisa, or Nancy, another aged just six. It was a clean test for the Negro mare but just couldn’t match the power of VIP but the score of 74.95% put her to second.

    “A good day!” said Charlotte. “VIP was really good and very easy; she’s just like clockwork. I think she was better for doing the young horse test first, it really set her up well. I love how trainable she is and how easy she finds the work.

    “I’m also really pleased with Nancy. She was here last year as a five year old and was quite green so to come here a year on and be second in the Medium is great. She’s certainly one for the future, Grand Prix I think as she’s hot, but very willing.

    “And dear Pumpkin Pie. He’s like my little sports car; so much fun and really easy. His medium trot is still his weakness but once we’ve mastered that, we’ll be flying.”

    Shearwater Young Horse Championships

    The assessment and pre-judging took place today for the Shearwater Young Horse Championships with the top four from each section – four, five and six-year-old – going through to tomorrow’s finals. Leading the way in the four-year-olds is Rowan Bryson’s son of Glocks Zonik, Izonik, ridden and part-owned by Kerry Mackin, who scored an impressive 8.30 from the three judges, Ulf Möller, Eva Möller and Lars Andersen. Jessica Dunn piloted her own Chagall-sired mare, Helga to the top of the five-year-old section with their mark of 8.00, while it was a tie at the top spot in the six-year-olds for Charlotte Dujardin with her own son of Apache, Gio and Bryony Goodwin with 2015 four-year-old champion Hawtins Duchessa, sired by Decamerone and owned by Judith Davis, who both scored 8.00 also.

    For full results, click here