Eilberg and Griffith Win First Titles at 2014 British Dressage Championships

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 13:16
2014 British Dressage Championships

Michael Eilberg and Lara Griffiths were the first winners of a national title on the first day of competition on Thursday 18 September 2014 at the 2014 British Dressage Championships at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. With a medal to be won in every single class at the Nationals, the British Dressage Championships are a title fest non-stop that does not reward overall division champions like in other countries.

Michael rode the crowd-pulling mare Woodlander Farouche (by Furst Heinrich x Dimaggio), owned by Alison Walton and Ferdi Eilberg, to win the Prix St Georges Championship with a substantial 76.42%.

The high class Prix St Georges' line-up promised an exciting afternoon of competition and it didn’t disappoint. Midway leader Becky Moody and Carinsio scored a whopping 73.53% but even that wasn’t enough to fend off Michael and the eight-year-old Woodlander Farouche – one of the most talked about young horses worldwide.

“She’s looking great. She was trying hard today and did some stunning work,” said Michael after their lap of honour. “She made a couple of mistakes but that was from trying a bit too much so I cannot fault her. In the medium I felt I’d left the ground it was that good, then in the extended she went for maximum, tried too hard so made an error. And in the three-times, she popped in a one, because that’s what’s she’s learning at home,” he added.

“Looking at the quality of her work, her baseline is around 80%, give or take for errors. She’s a mark higher than most horses who run around 70%. She amazing, with great range in all three gaits."

Talking about the horse’s development, Michael said: “At home we’re playing with everything for grand prix. She does one-times and piaffe-passage, which has really built up her muscle development and she has an understanding for collection.”

Though it’s not just her ability that sets her apart - “She’s like a magnet,” said Michael. “She has a special aura. Today we even had a visitor in the stables. It was a lady’s 60th birthday and they asked if she could meet Farouche as a birthday present!

Griffith Wins Inter II Title

Gloucestershire-based Lara Griffith, 25, rode Dr Bechtolsheimer’s athletic 12-year-old Rubin Al Asad, a German-bred gelding by Rubin Royal, to secure the Intermediaire II with 71.95%.

“I can’t get the smile off my face,” said a clearly delighted Lara, “I’m so proud of him - it feels almost as good as being reserve National Champion last year.”

Lara works as a rider for the world-renowned Bechtolsheimer family and has partnered ‘Rufus’, an elegant bay, for two years. “He’s not easy but we have a great partnership,” explained Lara. “He’s low-mileage competition-wise having competed at small tour just a couple of times last year, and this is only his third ever test at intermediate II. He’s a little shy in the arena so I have to coax him out but he’s gaining in confidence and is a fantastic talent for the future.”

Lara’s talent is recognised by her inclusion on the UK Sport lottery-funded Equestrian World Class Development Programme. As is that of the second and third-placed riders, Zoe Sleigh and Alex Hardwick.

Text by British Dressage, edited by Eurodressage

Photos © Jon Stroud

Related Links
Scores: 2014 British Dressage Championships
2014 British Dressage Championships Set to Begin at Stoneleigh Park