Hartpury College hosted a CDI Festival of Dressage on 4-8 July, which turned out to be a fantastic show, despite the best efforts of the British weather. The Gloucestershire venue held six CDI3* classes, attracting riders from all over the world for their final Olympic preparations, including the entire Canadian Olympic team. However, it was the British riders who dominated by winning each class during the event.
The first CDI3* class took place on Friday morning, getting off to a great start with the Prix St Georges. Carl Hester and the imposing Donnerschwee gelding Dances With Wolves made the most of an early start finishing first with 75.605%. The Eilbergs took second and third place in a close call: Michael in second with the Corland-sired Torino (69.842%) and Maria in third with the Jazz gelding U-Rockstar (69.763%).
Friday’s other class, the Grand Prix took place outdoors in the International arena, and many riders had to ride their tests in pouring rain. However, this certainly didn’t dampen the quality of the dressage as Charlotte Dujardin and the unstoppable Valegro claimed first prize with 81.660%. A margin of 8.83% separated Charlotte and second placed Ashley Holzer from Canada and Breaking Dawn (72.830%). Michael Eilberg rode Half Moon Delphi into third place on 72.404%.
Saturday afternoon’s Inter I class was a repeat of Friday’s Prix St Georges in the first and second placings, with Carl and Dances with Wolves first (75.605%) and Michael and Torino second (72.711%). Carl even recorded exactly the same score as Friday’s class, while Michael had almost caught up with a good 2.86% improvement. New combination Daniel Timson and the Royal Dance gelding Vivanck were third with 70.447% and Maria Eilberg and U-Rockstar fourth with 70.316%.
Saturday’s highlight was of course the Grand Prix Freestyle. The Hartpury arena was packed to the rafters with a sell-out crowd. It turned out the first, second and third placings were exactly the same as Friday’s Grand Prix. The crowd collectively held their breath as Charlotte and Valegro performed their test. The Olympic-bound pair stole the show with an amazing record-breaking performance to a ‘Rule Brittania’ inspired soundtrack, as they hit an astounding 90.650%. You can read more about Charlotte’s record-breaking performance here.
Michael Eilberg showcased the talent of Half Moon Delphi, as they came third with 72.050%. The performance showed there is much more to come from the 10-year-old Dimaggio mare who is only in her first season of Grand Prix.
After the high drama of Saturday, it was back to business on Sunday afternoon with the Inter I Freestyle. Due to the heavy rain causing problems, the class was moved indoors. Michael Eilberg picked up first place in the Festival’s penultimate class as he and Torino produced a lovely test. The pair had made improvements to their scores in their previous classes and finally came out winners on 75.675%. Andrew Gould and the Sandro Hit gelding Santorini Hit were second with 72.525% and Daniel Timson and Vivanck were third with 72.025%.
The show was rounded off with the Grand Prix Special on Sunday evening. Gareth Hughes and the Danish mare DV Stenkjers Nadonna won the class with 67.844%. Gareth was very happy with the win and told BD ‘I’m over the moon with it! She really is improving and becoming stronger and stronger. I felt she produced some of her best ever work in the test. We had a couple of errors, which did effect the score but it is really starting to come together.’ The Canadian rider Jacqueline Brooks and D Niro were close behind on 67.333% in second place. Fellow countryman David Marcus and Chrevi’s Capital were third with 67.156%. Great Britain’s Alice Oppenheimer and Wurlizer were fourth with 65.578%.
Scores 2012 CDI Hartpury
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