The Intermediaire I Championship featured some of the best Small Tour combinations in Britain right now and according to the five judges at the 2016 British Dressage Championships at Stoneleigh on the second day of competition, Friday 16 September 2016, Michael Eilberg and Sa Coeur proved they were top of the pile.
Scoring an impressive 73.61%, Michael and Elena Knyaginicheva's 9-year old Oldenburg gelding Sa Coeur (by Sir Donnerhall x Don Davidoff) topped long-time leaders Tom Goode and Sam Geddes' 8-year old Dutch warmblood Dior (by Gribaldi x Goodtimes) to claim the top spot. Tom Goode, who is Emile Faurie's stable jockey, scored 72.39% for second place.
Britain's Olympic team reserve rider Lara Griffith finished in bronze medal position aboard the Bechtolsheimer family's 11-year old Oldenburg gelding Kristjan (by Polarion x Napoleon Quatre) with 71.00%
Emile Faurie and Emma Jane Blundell's 8-year old Oldenburg mare Mount St. John De La Beauté (by Don Romantic x Depardieu) finished fourth with 70.32%.
“It was really nice, very consistent from start to finish,” announced Michael. “It always feels best to win on a test that was very clean, he didn’t put a foot wrong in any of the movements and he felt really happy and nice to ride.”
Having only started competing together this year, Michael and the Sir Donnerhall gelding have dominated the competition, missing out on topping the leader board just twice this year. “He’s a very reliable horse; he’s done everything I’ve ever asked from him. He’s the sweetest horse in the stable. He’s one of those; he’s not a baby but he still has a very kid-like and fun personality – it’s really nice to have.