British 2016 Olympic team rider Fiona Bigwood seems to be going full blast in the 2021 Olympic year with three Grand Prix horses to ride. She has taken over the ride on Carl Hester's WEG team medal winning Hawtins Delicato.
Hawtins' Delicato is a 13-year old British bred Hanoverian gelding by Diamond Hit out of Ravenna Elite (by Regazzoni). He is bred by Judith Davis and listed with the FEI as owned by Carl Hester, Ann Cory, Ben Neal and Lady Anne Evans.
British Team Medalist
Under Charlotte Dujardin the bay gelding made his international show debut at the 2017 CDI Hartpury, after winning the National Prix St Georges title in 2016. The pair also competed at Hickstead that year, overall raking in five victories out of six starts.
In 2018 Carl Hester took over the ride and qualified Delicato on the British team for the 2018 World Equestrian Games, where they won team bronze and finished 9th in the Special. They returned on Team GB for the 2019 European Dressage Championships in Rotterdam, where they were fourth with the team, 9th in the Special and 14th in the freestyle.
Hester last competed Delicato at the 2019 CDI-W London, where they were second in the Kur to Music.
Delicato has been quietly offered for sale since 2019 and rumours were already running rife that he sold in the summer/autumn of 2020. However at the time Hester told Eurodressage they were "just rumours."
Today Fiona Bigwood made her public coming out with Hawtins Delicato at the affiliated show at Hunters Equestrian in Cirencester on 7 April 2021. In cold and windy conditions, the pair scored 69.90% for a second place in a field of eight.
Bigwood also has Grand Prix horse Daytona Platinum to ride, alongside rising star Fame. Last week, she and her pocket rocket Fame had their winning 73% Grand Prix debut, but today the pair retired in the Grand Prix.
Olympic Team Candidate
According to the FEI database, the owners of Hawtins Delicato have not changed since 2019.
Fiona can be an Olympic contender with Hawtins Delicato as the FEI rule says that "horses entered for the Equestrian Events at the Olympic Games must have been registered with FEI as property of owners of the same nationality as the Athlete, by 15 January 2021."
Bigwood and her husband, Danish team rider Anders Dahl, live at Brantridge Park in Balcombe, West Sussex. She has been training with Carl Hester for year.
"I am thrilled Delicato stayed in the UK," Carl Hester told Eurodressage. "I help Fiona and Del has the lifestyle he has always had."
Carl Hester is currently campaigning Charlotte Dujardin's Dutch warmblood En Vogue (by Jazz) as his 2021 Tokyo Olympic hopeful.
(In an interview with Horse & Hound a day after this article was published, Carl said that he offered the ride on Del to Fiona in March 2020. After a successful try out period she bought the horse.)
Photos © Astrid Appels - Kevin Sparrow
Eurodressage Photo Database: Hawtins Delicato
Fiona Bigwood Makes Winning Grand Prix Debut on Fame
Bigwood and Dahl Sell Bourne Hill and Relocate to Brantridge Park
Dujardin Wins Prix St Georges and Inter II Title on Day One of 2017 British Championships
Dujardin Leads British Whitewash at 2019 CDI-W London World Cup Qualifier
Kittel and Well Done win 5* Grand Prix at 2019 CDIO Compiègne