The 4-year old Hawtins Duchessa and the 5-year old Florentina became the winners of the Potential International Dressage Horse classes which serve as British Young Horse Championship classes held at the 2015 British Dressage Championships at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire on 17 - 20 September 2015.
Hawtins Duchessa, 4-year old British Champion
The crowd were in for a real treat on the final afternoon of the championships with the Shearwater Potential International Dressage Horse championship taking centre stage providing great entertainment and an insight into what to look for in the next stars of the future. The quality of the horses was exceptional making it an exciting, close call in both classes – you could hear a pin drop!
First into the arena was our top six four-year-olds, chosen from the initial assessments that took place yesterday. The judges then chose their top two potential international horses who went forward to be ridden by the rider judge Eva Moller who is a German young horse trainer at the world renowned Hof Kasselmann in Hagen. Selected was Mount St John Equestrian‘s Totilas-sired MSJ Top Secret expertly ridden by Charlotte Dujardin and Judith Davis’ Hawtins Duchessa who due to unexpected drama was ridden by Amy Woodhead who had never sat on the mare before today!
Unfortunately Bryony Goodwin, rider of the Hawtins Stud-bred mare, was unable to ride the two young horses after a really unlucky fall when the mare showed a moment of unexpected greenness not long before the class was due to start. Luckily Amy Woodhead stepped in and did exceptionally well to ride both of the horses.
First, Moller rode MSJ Top Secret who demonstrated her outstanding uphill canter, Moller enjoyed all three of the young mare’s paces and adjustability, describing her as ‘easy to ride’. However she felt the mare felt young in the walk and irritated at times. Maria Colliander, one of the judges on the ground, agreed that the horse had a great canter but felt she needed to ‘develop strength’.
Next Moller rode Hawtins Duchessa, a striking black, British-bred mare, with ‘fluid movement’. Colliander said the horse, by Decamerone, walked like a ‘royal horse’ with ‘rideability to die for’! Both horses performed impeccably and it was hard to call who would take the title but it was Hawtins Duchessa who was the favoured choice of the judges.
Speaking to a thrilled owner, Judith Davis said of the mare “she’s very straightforward and wants to work, she’s very forward thinking. The trot is very impressive and her canter is so big, with such ground cover it’s hard to get her to sit on it at the moment!” Duchessa will now enjoy a chill out and a holiday before looking to contest five-year-old classes in 2016. Judith praised the “great judges and fantastic test
rider who rode all the horses really nicely. It’s great to have someone of that calibre.”
Florentina, 5-year old British Champion
In the five-year-old section the judges were again spoilt for choice with the six top horses from the day before entering the arena for the group assessment. From this pre-judging Charlotte Dujardin on her own and Mr and Mrs Dockley’s stunning grey Florentina and the winner of the Dodson & Horrell Novice Open championship on Friday, Jessica Dunn with her own and the Keenan
family’s five-year-old Sorento mare, Fyona.
Rider judge Eva Moller, first rode an impeccably behaved Florentina showing off her uphill paces and describing her as a ‘top horse’. Next Moller rode Fyona, there was a tense moment where Fyona was a little unsure of her new rider but Moller rode tactfully to get the mare back on track and was soon getting the best out of her. Moller loved her ‘scope’ and had a real ‘swinging feeling’ throughout her paces, judge on the ground Maria Colliander agreed with Eva’s assessment praising the ‘light footed’ horse who, though ‘sensitive’ at the beginning, showed her potential.
After the judges had spoken, it was difficult to tell which of these exceptional mares would take the title and the crowd listened keenly to hear that it was Florentina who would be the winning five-year old.
Like a proud mum on her child’s first day at school, Charlotte commented; I was really emotional; it’s only her third competition so to come here and deal with the atmosphere, people and horses has made me so proud of her. She was so much more settled in the arena today; she was a little lit up yesterday but today she really relaxed and showed everyone what she can really do. Thanks to Alice (Oppenheimer) for warming her up for me while I was riding my four year old in the arena; she said to me that the win was because she’d ‘sorted her out’! It’s really special to have one of my own horses here and the win is even better. I’ve always known since I got her as a four year old; she was so exciting. She’s showing so much potential for grand prix work already so I’m so excited about her future.”
Results - 2015 British Young Horse Championships
- 1. Amy Woodhead - Hawtins Duchessa
- 2. Charlotte Dujardin - MSJ Top Secret
- 3. Natalie Banks - Giloma
- 4. Lucinda Elliot - Mount St John Quiana II
- 5. Rebecca Hughes - Goldstrike
- 6. Antonia Brown - Krack De
- 1. Charlotte Dujardin - Florentina
- 2. Jessica Dunn - Fyona
- 3. Darren Hicks - Brandon
- 4. Lucy Cartwright - San Marco
- 5. Rebecca Hughes - Flamboyant
- 6. Amy Woodhead - Hawtins Sassi Neri
Photos © Kevin Sparrow
Scores of the 2015 British Young Horse Championships