In plus 30 degree heat, Charlotte Dujardin kept her cool to continue her education of the 9-year old Mount St John Freestyle and once more swept the big tour class at yet another British based CDI, this time in Hartpury on 6 - 8 July 2018.
Grand Prix in Heat Wave
It wasn’t a faultless performance in the Grand Prix as young mare showed signs of struggling in the heat but the fantastic far outweighed the bad and the judges duly generously awarded the duo 77.43% for victory. There were blips in the piaffe, normally a strong point, but the heat was clearly a factor for her. Charlotte was obviously frustrated as the magic 80% with her partner, owned by Mount St John Stud, still eludes her in her bid for selection for the World Equestrian Games in September.
Second spot went to Carl Hester with Ann Cory, Lady Anne Evans and his own Hawtins Delicato. British bred ‘Del’ continues to grow in confidence with every outing and his test today was only marred by a disagreement in piaffe.
“He was passaging so beautifully and high and I just didn’t prepare well enough,” said Carl. “He’s so nearly there where I can start asking him for maximum in a number of the movements so there’s plenty more to come,” he added.
In third was a welcome return to competition for Spencer Wilton and Jen Goodman’s Super Nova. It was the first time the pair was back in action after a long recover from injury. Their last performance was at the 2017 European Championships in Gothenburg, and while they were a bit ‘ring rusty’, the De Niro gelding still had that cheeky spark. It was a confidence building test and with a score of 75.84% they threw a firm marker down to the selectors.
Easier Path to Tryon for British WEG Team Candidates?!
British WEG team selection has caused some debate this year as the country's top riders - Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester - have opted the path of least resistance on their way to Tryon.
After the CDI Joosland, the pair has not competed in any CDI competitions on the European continent and have therefore not met any "foreign" competition. With Windsor, Bolesworth and Hartpury as selected WEG qualification events with two British home judges on the panel at two of those shows (Storr and Phillips at Windsor, Graham at Bolesworth, Storr and Clarke at Hartpury).
WEG Team candidate Spencer Wilton and Super Nova have been a fixture on the British team at the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2017 European Championships, but the De Niro offspring has not competed since the 2017 Europeans in Gothenburg due to an injury. He made his come back in Hartpury and already special favour from the British team selectors by receiving a bye for the Grand Prix Special there. Wilton's next show where he has to prove form is another U.K. CDI, in Hickstead.
Hughes, however, has gone to continent for the CDIO Compiegne, where he rode his lovely mare Briolinca to good scores. He also campaigned her at Keysoe and Bolesworth, but withdrew right before the CDIO Rotterdam due to soundness issues. Hughes is going head-to-head with Emile Faurie (Dono di Maggio, Delatio) for that fourth team spot. Faurie did not fear the European continent and rode his horses at the CDI's in Hagen, Fritzens, and Aachen, alongside Bolesworth. Both Hughes and Faurie are very close together when it comes to achieved scores.
It will be interesting to see what British selectors do. The British WEG candidates gather next at the CDIO Hickstead, which is --- guess again -- in Great Britain!
Text by British Dressage & Astrid Appels