Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Freestyle’s highly anticipated kür made a winning world debut at Hartpury’s Festival of Dressage last night (Saturday 6th July).
The 10-year-old daughter of Fidermark pulled out all the stops, earning a personal-best mark of 87.6%. No judge marked the combination lower than 86% with two judges even awarding 89%. Emma and Jill Blundell’s mare danced her way through clean changes and near-perfect pirouettes before the Frozen-inspired music reached its powerful climax.
Speaking to Horse & Hound after her performance, Charlotte said “I’m absolutely thrilled because the degree of difficulty is immense; it is one thing after another and there is no room for error at all. On the last centre line I really didn’t know if I was going to stop — she was still raring to go.”
“I don’t know what it is about that horse, but she makes me cry every time, and that music feels so magical to ride to.”
The NAF Superflex CDI Grand Prix was filled with personal bests. Second-placed Hayley Watson-Greaves earned an impressive 77.69% with Rubins Nite while Gareth Hughes scored 75.93% aboard KK Woodstock.
The Elite Stallions Young Horse Prix St Georges championship was another hugely competitive affair with Jayne Turney and Shirley Rixon’s Penhaligon’s Jupiter coming out on top with 72.94%. Eventer and dressage rider Dannie Morgan scored 71.04% to take second place on board Knoxxs Figaro.
Saturday’s ever-popular gala evening also included a rather humorous and highly informative demonstration by dressage rider, Anna Ross.
Earlier in the day, young horses were on display in the Shearwater 4, 5 and 6-year-old semi-finals. In the 4-year-olds, Greg Sims scored 8.86 riding Stena Hoerner’s Waverley Fellini. Lucinda Elliot earned the first 5-year-old qualification spot with Judith Davis’ Hawtins Lirica scoring 8.64 while Michael Eilberg and MSJ Dante VX took 6-year-old honours on 8.16.
Elsewhere, Portugal’s Luis Principe put a number of second-placed efforts behind him by winning the FEI CDI Intermediate I aboard James Walker’s R.S.Raphael (73.647%).
Charlotte Dujardin had started a super Saturday by winning the Equine Construction Advanced Medium 98 with her own and Carl Hester’s Hawtins San Floriana posting a score of 75.79%.
The action continues on Sunday.