Hayley Watson-Greaves Wins 2017 British Champion's Title, Hester Wins Freestyle Title

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 09:35
Hayley Watson-Greaves and Rubins Nite are the 2017 British Dressage Champions
Photo © Kevin Sparrow
2017 British Dressage Championships

There was a dramatic twist on the final day of 2017 British Dressage Championships at Stoneleigh Park on Sunday 17 October 2017 with different combinations taking the Grand Prix Freestyle and National Champion titles. While Lara Butler won the Grand Prix title on Saturday, Carl Hester clinched the GP Freestyle Title. However, the overall British Champion's title in the big tour went to Hayley Watson-Greaves for posting the highest overall score after two rounds.

Hester and Loaner Alcazar Win GP Freestyle Title

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 National’s 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, Jane Forbes Clark's Alcazar. Dancing to music previously used by Uthopia, Carl and the 12-year old Contango gelding, which he lent from American student Katherine Bateson, 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!”

Hayley Watson-Greaves Overall Grand Prix Champion

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 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 insider 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 [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.”

Text by British Dressage, edited by Eurodressage - Photo © Kevin Sparrow

Related Links
Scores 2017 British Dressage Championships
Dujardin Wins Prix St Georges and Inter II Title on Day One of 2017 British Championships
Dujardin Continues Sweep with Inter I Title on Day Two of 2017 British Dressage Championships
Lara Butler Takes 2017 British Grand Prix Champion's Title, Dujardin Scores Fourth FEI Level Title

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