Hester and Wilton Win on Day Three at 2014 British Dressage Championships

Sun, 09/21/2014 - 17:49
2014 British Dressage Championships
Carl Hester and Dances with Wolves at the 2014 British Championships

Carl Hester took one step closer to toppling the doyenne of dressage, Jennie Loriston-Clarke, after winning the Grand Prix Championship at the 2014 British Dressage Championships, held at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire on Saturday 20 September 2014. Spencer Wilton and Alfons took his second title of the weekend, claiming the Intermediaire I Kur to Music.

Hester is currently tied with Jennie on seven National Champion titles each. A win or good score in tomorrow’s Grand Prix Freestyle could secure Carl his eighth National Champion title, breaking the British Dressage record.

Last to go in today’s grand prix with his own and Aram Gregory’s 12-year-old Donnerschwee gelding, Dances with Wolves, the duo snatched the title from Michael Eilberg by just 0.24% with their score of 70.54%. However not content with just taking the title, Carl’s second ride, Jenny Green’s 13-year-old German gelding, Fine Time 13 also claimed third place with 69.78%. Michael Eilberg and his father’s 14-year-old Latvian gelding, Marakov, scored 70.30% to take second.

Speaking about his winning ride, Dances with Wolves – or Golly as he’s known at home – Carl stated: “He’s a hot number and everyone knows I do struggle a little bit with his temperament, so I’m careful with him. I rode him at various times yesterday and I was up early this morning just to show him the ropes again as he needs that time just to relax; he’s really a full time job, so I was quite happy with his test – we got to the end!

“His temperament changes throughout the test and he was very hot at one stage but he did relax again,” Carl continued. “70 is always a great score and it’s the benchmark I set for my horses to go onto better things. I’m very happy with the fact he ended up the winner - there’s still more to come from him!”

Although both of Carl’s rides have qualified for tomorrow’s Horse Health Grand Prix Freestyle, he has made the decision to only take one horse through in Fine Time which means that Daniel Watson and Fideramber, who came 11th on 66.46%, pick up the spare place in the freestyle.

“Because only ten are allowed to go forward, I didn’t want to be greedy,” explained Carl. “I’ve been lucky enough to ride at a number of National Championships but for some it’s a real dream, so it’s nice to be able to let another competitor in. Daniel Watson has been a very good competitor for us in the Nation Cups this year, so I’m sure people will look forward to seeing him – plus, it makes the competition more exciting.”

Explaining why he chose Bruno, Fine Time’s stable name, over Golly, he stated: “Deciding to ride Fine Time puts me in a position where I’m not in the lead, but I’m only a fraction behind Michael. I know Bruno can do a much more difficult Kur, plus he’s more reliable and people love to see the music so I’m hoping I’ve made the decision. It seems to have been a year of hoping I’ve made the right decision and so far it’s worked, so let’s hope we can end the season with me having picked the right one once more!”

Wilton Wins the Inter I Kur to Music

Spencer Wilton and Alfons are Supreme
Small Tour Champions
Spencer Wilton and Jayne Lancashire’s Alfonso cemented their position as the country’s leading lights at Inter I level today. They dominated the Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I Freestyle with an impressive 78.43%, nearly two and a half percent ahead of their nearest rivals. It’s even more impressive that it was their Freestyle debut together. Coupled with their win yesterday in the Inter I, they were awarded the Supreme Championship to take the hat-trick of titles on offer.

Drawn third last to go, Spencer knew what was required after 21 year old World Class Development rider Olivia Oakeley put up the performance her young career with her bubbly chestnut Donna Summer (s. Dimaggio) to score 73.08% with a technically challenging programme which met with great approval from the crowd and her delighted support team. Spencer and Alfons haven’t had much time to prepare with the Berkshire rider having some time off with a back problem so he just had to throw caution into the wind and ride the Tchaikovsky-sired gelding to his maximum potential. The nine year old answered with a fluent, correct test which Spencer presented with his normal flair to score over 78%.

Charlie Hutton followed him and came close with 76.03% with Douglas IV while the final combination of Gareth Hughes and the impressive Samba Hit III also couldn’t quite score the necessary to overtake the leaders.

So the win went to Spencer. A clean test made the victory even more sweet and satisfaction for a job well done. After a lively prize giving , he commented; “A definite clear round today. I just wanted a test with no mistakes and where I didn’t forget where I was going! The music is very specific for the movements so there’s no room for error – I did get a little behind so my final halt was a bit abrupt. I borrowed the music from my good friend Andrew Gould who very kindly leant it to me as I haven’t had chance to put a music programme together for him. So I owe him a beer later! His basic way of going over the last few days has been a delight. I was confident that if we could be mistake free and he went how he can, then it’d be in the bag.

“He’ll have a few days off in the field now and an easy time before we start to prepare for the Mount St John Future Elite class at Horse of the Year Show. We’ve got a few weeks to practice the music more and while I’m not particularly confident in everything I do, I’ll have confidence from our run here. I’m thrilled for his owner Jane; when she sent him to me at the beginning of the year and I don’t think either of us ever thought we’d end the season like this. A really good day.”

Text by British Dressage

Photo © Jon Stroud

Related Links
Scores: 2014 British Dressage Championships
Wilton Wins Intermediaire I Title at 2014 British Dressage Championships
Eilberg and Griffith Win First Titles at 2014 British Dressage Championships
2014 British Dressage Championships Set to Begin at Stoneleigh Park