The wet weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the spectators on Thursday 14 May 2015 at Royal Windsor Horse Show, who were treated to an array of displays including a winning performance from Olympic team gold medalist and show favourite Carl Hester in the small CDI Grand Prix class.
With Windsor scheduled at the same time as the big CDI's in Munich and Hamburg and with international competitions also in Odense and Biarritz, the Windsor horse show was not able to fill their Grand Prix field with more than twelve combinations. Richard Davison and his green home bred Grand Prix horse Bubblingh (by Lingh) withdrew right before the start of the show after the inexperienced horse was unable to produce a settled performance at the CDI Roosendaal the week before.
Carl Hester and Nip Tuck, members of the British silver medal team at the World Equestrian Games last year, led from the front to win the international grand prix with 75.380 %. It was the third international win for the pair this year, albeit their score fell just half a percent short of their personal best scored in Barcelona in March.
“It felt like a personal best to me,” said Carl who owns the Dutch-bred gelding with Jane de la Mare. “I think that is the best he’s ever gone. Last year here he felt so green and this year he felt like a really experienced horse.”
The pair are now aiming for this year’s British team for the European Championships to be held in Aachen, Germany. “I was hoping that the ‘up and comings’ might get a go – we are getting more depth and riders available as tonight showed but I will be available if they need me” said Carl who trained almost half of the 12 strong class.
His pupil Fiona Bigwood came closest with her Danish bred mare Atterupgaards Orthilia (by Gribaldi) who ably demonstrated great natural lift in piaffe and passage. Fiona acquired the mare 18 months ago. Last April Fiona suffered a serious fall that left her out of the saddle for six months.
“I had to put all the horses on the back-burner,” said Fiona who too was just short of a PB with the mare. Orthilia however was the first horse she got back on after her accident. “She is the kindest horse ever – I love riding her and love her to bits,” said Fiona who is also aiming for a place on the team this year having won team silver at the WEG in 2010. "My main goal is to try for a place for Rio next year but to be honest I take every show as it comes” she said.
Dutch rider Katja Gevers and her 15-year-old gelding Thriller (by Gribaldi) took third place with their best score so far this year while British rider Alice Oppenheimer and Headmore Delegate, took fourth with a score just short of 70%.
“I would have liked to have made the 70% but he was a good boy and the spotlights do make it quite a spooky arena,” said Alice who trains the British-bred Delegate with Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin.
Photos © Risto Aaltonen
Scores 2015 CDI Windsor