Dujardin and Butler Take First Titles on Day One of 2018 British Dressage Championships

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 09:23
2018 British Dressage Championships
Charlotte Dujardin and Florentina win the Prix St Georges Title at the 2018 British Championships :: Photo © Kevin Sparrow

A slightly wet and windy forecast at the 2018 British Dressage Championships didn't dampen the spirits of those competing and enjoying a day out at Stoneleigh Park. The first two FEI level Championships were full of thrills, outstanding results and top quality competition on 20 September 2018. 

Dujardin Takes Out Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Gold

On her return from Tryon, Charlotte Dujardin produced her usual magic in the Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Gold class filling not one, but two of the top spots.

Her winning ride, Floretina, impressed once again in the LeMieux arena to add another title to a growing collection. The striking grey by Vivaldi scored 76.18% to finish two percent ahead of stable mate River Rise Nisa, co-owned by breeder Sarah Tyler-Evans. Charlotte also grabbed the fourth place ribbon with Carl Hester’s Brioso II to complete a great first day at the Championships.

Speaking about her return to British soil and British competition Charlotte said, “I just got back on Sunday, I’m really lucky that Sadie Smith and Katie Bailey have kept them ticking over while I was away. It’s been a very quick turnaround! It was certainly not my normal Championship preparation but I’m so happy with them having not ridden for ten days.

“I’ve trained them and I know them all really well but the fine tuning was missing a little today, a couple of mistakes happened that wouldn’t normally happen but I’m still really happy overall. The weather definitely had an affect too – I’ve gone from hot and humid to gale force winds… hurricane Florence has come to find me here!”

The multi-medalled starlet was full of applause for Florentina, who hasn’t cantered up the centre line since Bolesworth due to a flat out calendar and World Equestrian Games preparations. “She’s a lovely horse who really tries, she’s really reliable,” Charlotte enthused.

A WEG takeover saw fellow team medallist Emile Faurie claim third place with rising star Café’s Caletta (by Café au Lait x Calato). The nine-year-old bay mare displayed all the signs for a successful future at Grand Prix level and her potential was reflected in the score – 73.71%.

Butler Wins Intermediaire II Title

Lara Butler claimed the penultimate class of day one at Stoneleigh – the Cavalor Intermediate Championship. She rode a beautifully fluent test aboard Wifried and Ursula Bechtolsheimer’s Kristjan for a score of 71.60% ahead of Georgia Stokes with Talented Mr Ripley in second and Sadie Smith with Keystone Dynamite making up the top three.

“They were very tricky conditions today,” said Lara. “The wind certainly picked up this afternoon, so I’m really pleased with him considering the flapping flags behind him. It literally sounded like something was going to explode behind us we came up the centreline. But he was so good, and he was focused.

“We had a few little blips - he spooked at one of the flower plots that had blown over - but you can’t complain in these conditions, and he produced everything else perfectly for me. We’ve been working hard at home getting everything secure in his mind and in my mind, so that it’s all natural to us, and hopefully we showed that in the arena.

Describing the best bits of her performance with the 13-year-old son of Polarion, Lara said; “The trot half passes are always one of his highlights – he finds them really easy. He just sort of floats across, then floats the other way. And he’s so secure in his changes.”

Lara acquired the ride on Kristjan as a six-year-old and has trained him under the tutelage of the Bechtolsheimer family. “Our next thing from here will be to go to Grand Prix which is really exciting.

”I won the Inter II title here a few years back with Rubin Al Asad, so it’s a good sign,” she smiled. And here today, this means a lot. I’ve come second to Charlotte [Dujardin] a lot of the time at Small Tour, so it’s nice for him [Kristjan] to have his moment.”

Photo © Kevin Sparrow

Related Link
Scores 2018 British Dressage Championships