Double Olympic dressage champion Charlotte Dujardin proved the headline act on the opening day of the TheraPlateUK Liverpool International Horse Show.
Charlotte, who earlier in the evening paraded her multiple major championship medal-winning horse Valegro to gasps of delight at the Echo Arena, returned with Florentina VI to win the Intermediate 1 Freestyle Invitational, sponsored by Equitop Myoplast.
It was another fine display by Charlotte and the eight-year-old mare, with the horse among a string of outstanding young equine talent being developed at her Gloucestershire base.
Their score of 81.938% put them a distance clear of the field, although there were also some fine performances that completed the podium places.
Britain's Katie Bailey took second place aboard Boccelli 6 on a score of 77.188%, with this year's World Equestrian Games para-dressage gold medallist Sophie Wells finishing third.
Sophie, riding C Fatal Attraction, scored 76.813%, while fourth spot was filled by Amy Woodhead, riding Branduardi.
DRESSAGE stars will light up the Theraplate UK Liverpool International Horse Show stage at the iconic Echo Arena on the opening night of the equestrian and family extravaganza.
Spectators will witness some of the country’s leading names including the legendary Charlotte Dujardin as they compete in the Equitop Myoplast sponsored Inter 1 Freestyle Dressage to Music.
Charlotte will be bringing the super-talented, grey mare Florentina VI to compete in the magical atmosphere on the opening night.
The partnership has been in fantastic form this year winning both the Prix St Georges and Inter 1 Freestyle Small Tour at Bolesworth International in June.
And that’s not all, dressage maestro Carl Hester will join Charlotte for a meet and greet session, allowing fans to get close up and personal with the duo during rider signings.
Said Charlotte: “Having competed at Liverpool International last year it is great to be returning and to partner Florentina in such an electric arena will be fantastic.”
Other leading names on the start list include the multi-garlanded Sophie Wells Paralympic, World and European Gold Medallist, Nicky Barker and Lisa Marriott, to name just a few who will be riding at their best to take the coveted title.
Said Theraplate UK Liverpool International Horse Show, President, Nina Barbour: “We are delighted to have Carl and Charlotte returning to the show and to be hosting top class dressage once again.
“We can always rely on Charlotte to provide a masterclass when it comes to competition riding.
“The sport of dressage has grown beyond recognition and we are looking forward to watching some of the most talented and up and coming dressage horses in the country compete.
“The Echo Arena is a fantastic venue and there will certainly be plenty of atmosphere to give the crowd a real taste of the very best dressage.”
As well as dressage on the opening night, December 28, for those visitors making it a New Year to remember they can look forward to a showjumping feast on New Year’s Eve, December 31, with the prestigious Theraplate UK Grand Prix one of the highlights, when leading names will battle it out to take top honours.
Hospitality at The Liverpool International Horse Show is second to none and makes a fantastic present for great friends and family. Whether on the purpose-built platform at the head of the arena or in one of the VIP boxes – you won’t be disappointed.
This year’s Liverpool International Horse Show will see a host of leading names in action from December 28 to 31, at The Echo Arena on Liverpool’s iconic waterfront.
For further information and to book tickets visit www.liverpoolhorseshow.com
To reserve VIP Hospitality tickets on the purpose-built stage at the head of the arena please contact Hospitality Manager, Melanie Simm on 01829 307676.
Bringing a ‘first ever’ to Olympia, Charlotte Dujardin CBE and her protégée, Mount St John Freestyle, dubbed ‘Mrs Valegro’, will be performing their never seen before Freestyle test when they compete in the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound, on Tuesday 18 December.
The former world number one and winner of three Olympic gold medals, will be taking centre stage in the Grand Hall. All eyes will be on the new duo as Dujardin returns to the FEI World Cup™ Dressage at Olympia for the first time since 2015 when she won the Grand Prix and Freestyle aboard Utopia. This followed a golden year when she set the world record for the highest score ever achieved in a Freestyle competition with Valegro. This year, Dujardin will be putting her 2020 Olympic gold medal hopeful – a nine-year-old Hanoverian mare, owned by Mount St John Stud – through her paces.
Dujardin and Mount St John Freestyle were due to showcase their routine at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 in September; however, the Freestyle competition was cancelled due to torrential rain. Despite this, the partnership returned home with two bronze medals from the Games, a huge achievement, particularly as Mount St John Freestyle was one of the youngest horses in the competition. The stunning mare, who achieved an unbelievable debut score of 81% in her first Grand Prix, has not scored less than 74% at any level in the last three years, setting the scene for excellent competition at Olympia.
Charlotte Dujardin CBE, said: “I am thrilled to be bringing Freestyle back to Olympia! Last year we presented our Masterclass at the Show; it was incredible demonstrating to the audience what she is capable of and giving them insight into one of the next generation Grand Prix horses, showing them why I am so excited by her. It will be fantastic returning to the Grand Hall and showcasing our new Freestyle routine for the first time. It’s going to be very exciting!”
Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, commented: “We are delighted to be welcoming Charlotte and Freestyle back to Olympia, and looking forward to seeing their Freestyle test. The pair were so well received last year, spectators will be in high anticipation at their return to the Show.”
Dressage at Olympia 2018 will be piloting a new, exciting format, which aims to make the FEI Dressage World Cup™ more appealing to a wider audience. The main change is a shorter Grand Prix technical test of five minutes which will allow time for rider interviews and audience interaction giving the crowd an opportunity to gain a greater insight to the skills of the dressage riders.
Tickets are still available to see Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Freestyle in action on Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 December. For more information on how to purchase tickets, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0844 995 0995.
HPower Group, organiser of Olympia, The London International Horse Show, host to the UK leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™, has worked in consultation with the FEI and international dressage riders to revitalise the FEI Dressage World Cup™ competition by making it more interesting to a wider audience. The two evenings of the newly designed competition will be seen at Olympia on Monday 17th and Tuesday 18th December 2018.
Agreed by the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Committee, this will form a two-year pilot project, which seeks to actively engage the audience and broaden the discipline’s appeal, particularly during the Grand Prix Test.
The changes to the existing dressage format include significant alterations to the Grand Prix phase, although the test will still be judged and ridden in the same format as all other FEI technical tests and will continue to demand the highest level of technical ability, accuracy and precision. The Grand Prix changes include
Richard Davison, Dressage Consultant to the Olympia Organising Committee, who has been working together with the FEI on the project said, “The World Cup series is a really important opportunity for us to showcase dressage and widen its appeal. This pilot project is an exciting initiative aimed at adding considerably more spectator appeal, while maintaining traditional dressage values and a highly competitive format.”
Simon Brooks-Ward, Show Director, said: “This new format is not a gimmick or a theatrical experiment. I have been convinced, for some time, that Dressage in the World Cup Series has been underperforming against its potential. Unashamedly – and I believe quite rightly – we want to make the Grand Prix evening at Olympia as meaningful, relevant and exciting as the Freestyle night. Two cracking nights of elite competition will do a lot to improve Dressage’s visibility amongst those who have not been initiated into the complexities of the sport.”
Adding to the dressage entertainment will be The Reprise Des Douzes from La Garde Republicaine, who are renowned for their balletic dressage moves and technically difficult group riding. The Olympia Grand Prix evening, on Monday 17th December, is set to be an evening where the audience can immerse themselves in the highly skilled sport of dressage.
For more information on how to purchase tickets, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0844 995 0995.
Fresh from being crowned ‘Best Amateur Rider’ at The British Dressage National Championships, Lara Edwards held her very first demonstration at Riseholme College in Lincoln.
Lara had to put on her ‘brave breeches’ and draw on her own coaching techniques to combat the nerves and deliver an informative session that captivated the attention of everyone that attended.
The evening was hosted by the North Lincolnshire branch of The British Horse Society, with guests coming along to find out how the winner of 12 regional and two national titles has gained a reputation for developing quirky horses.
With the help of her working pupil, Georgia Milner, Lara started the evening by introducing five-year-old Cleo, ridden by Georgia, and four-year-old Jack, ridden by Lara. This was only the second time both horses had been away from home and Lara thought this was a good opportunity to get them used to people sitting around an arena.
As they walked the horses around, getting them used to the environment, Lara explained how she got where she is today, how she started off in eventing, only concentrating on dressage when she got the ride on a particularly talented horse and nerves were getting the better of her during the cross-country phase.
Working with her two youngsters, Lara hoped the audience would identify with issues they had with their own horses. When Cleo became spooked by something at the far end of the arena, Lara encouraged Georgia to give her a pat, squeeze with her leg and quietly carry on.
“You will often hear people tell a rider to ‘get after it’, which is actually the worst thing you can do to a horse that is frightened, as this just confirms to the horse that there is something to be scared of.” explained Lara, who is a brand ambassador for The Lifeforce Range from Alltech.
By Lara’s own admission, Cleo is of a nervous disposition, seemingly scared of life but with Georgia encouraged to not make a big thing of Cleo’s spook, she soon forgot about the monster lurking at the bottom of the arena.
Riding Jack, Lara talked about how she had to be sensitive to his needs as, although he has incredible natural talent, he was still very much developing so she didn’t want to put too much pressure on his hind legs.
Jack was broken in as a three-year-old before being turned away in the field while Lara was pregnant with her second daughter. Now he is back in work, Lara still only rides him three times a week.
This brought home to everyone the importance of listening to your horse and letting them set the pace, as all horses develop in their own time.
Before the break Lara invited questions from the audience, where she was asked for her advice on what to do with a horse that is cold-backed and another that was backward-thinking.
Following a short interval, Lara brought out one of the stars of her yard, nine-year-old, Felix, who was her ride at The British Dressage National Championships. Currently competing at Advanced Medium and Prix St Georges level, Felix has challenged Lara’s skills to the maximum.
Lara explained to the audience that Felix had been sent back from three professional riders as a six-year-old, being described as dangerous, and she was to be his last chance.
With everyone watching on in awe at the incredible talent of Felix and the amazing partnership he has developed with Lara, she talked about how it had taken three long years to get Felix to this stage and how he relied on her for comfort when they were away from home.
Having really struggled with nerves in the past, the final part of the demonstration focused on the techniques that Lara has learnt to control her nerves.
Using a volunteer from the audience Lara went through an exercise to help ‘centre the core’, with the aim of making you feel naturally stronger from within, which is a neuro-linguistic programming exercise designed to teach you how to take control of your own mind.
Lara’s first demonstration was a huge success, leaving the audience wanting more as the two hours passed by in a flash.
Said Lara: “Once I got on-board and started talking, the nerves soon faded away. It was great to be able to share my experiences of producing horses to an audience that was so engaged and interested in what I had to say.
“I would like to say a big thank you to The British Horse Society, Jane White and Caroline Peatfield for inviting me to take part in the demonstration and for giving me the confidence to give it a go.”