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.”
The 2018 BRC TopSpec Dressage to Music Championships took place at Bury Farm Equestrian Village with competitors travelling from all over the country to take part.
The BRC team were delighted to welcome TopSpec back to the championships which grows year-on-year.
More than 200 riders took part in the recent championships and the addition of an elementary level Pairs Dressage to Music Championship added to the occasion.
BRC also introduced a number of direct entry classes, including a Retrained Racehorse (ROR) prelim / novice Pick a Test class.
Said Katy Mickle of TopSpec: “We were delighted to sponsor the Dressage to Music Championships, it was a fantastic few days and to see and speak to so many people, passionate about their horses and ponies wellbeing was great.
“The level of competition was brilliant and it was just a wonderful championship.”
The first winner of the weekend competing in the BRC TopSpec Medium / Advanced Medium ‘Pick A Test’ Dressage to Music Championship was Megan Rees riding Thorneyside Tornado from Berkshire County RC, in Area 6. Megan rode an extremely expressive Medium level test on her lovely 14hh, chestnut, Welsh Sec C, gelding, just piping Tessa Seed, on the artistic merit score, with 71.42%.
Tricia Smith riding Helios from Wokingham & Bearwood RC, also in Area 6 lifted the BRC TopSpec Elementary Dressage to Music Championship. Scoring over 74%, and going one better than her second place in this class last year, with a fabulous, flowing test, which really complemented her stunning chestnut gelding.
The new BRC TopSpec Pairs Dressage to Music Championship went to young riders, Kitty Ashpole riding Ruby Fire Fox and Samantha Wuidart riding Lince FS from Shillington RC, in Area 7, with a score of 68.40%. This class was introduced to give riders competing at the higher levels more scope, involving a greater degree of difficulty in the required movements.
Sarah Beveridge riding Sir Archibald from Solent RC, in Area 17 was thrilled to win the BRC TopSpec Novice with Points Dressage to Music Championship, Sarah and her stunning, piebald gelding, Sir Archibald scored 74.44, with a superb, exuberant test.
The BRC TopSpec Novice Pairs Dressage to Music Championship was won once again by riders representing South Durham Saddle Club, Helen Williams riding Secretly Unique and Caroline Tough Trevoulter Silver Replica from Area 2. With western themed music they produced another polished routine. Making for an impressive season, following their win together in the pairs dressage class at the National Championships in Lincoln at the start of the month.
Marion Powell won the BRC TopSpec Novice 0 Points Dressage to Music Championship riding her striking black, homebred, gelding Mister Tobias from Golden Valley RC in Area 15 with a score of 72.22%. Marion was so pleased with this win, having also won the Veteran Rider 1 Pick a Test Class on the Saturday.
The first of the two junior championship classes, the BRC TopSpec Junior Prelim Dressage to Music Championship, was won by Maddy McIntosh riding Alvediston Dafydd Ddu (Dave) from West Oxfordshire RC, in Area 18, with a score of 72.92%. Maddy has owned Dave, a 15.2hh, black, Welsh Sec D gelding for three years. They rode an accurate well choreographed test to narrowly win this class.
Eleven year-old Myles Graham riding a new pony Harnells Erasmus (Nelly) from Swindon & District RC in Area 9 sealed the BRC TopSpec Junior Novice Dressage to Music Championship, with the highest score of the weekend, 80.14%. Miles won this class last year on his other pony Jinks, but he is forming a wonderful new partnership with Caron Robert’s Nelly a beautiful dun, eight year old 14hh, Connemara mare.
We would also like to thank all our Volunteers who helped to make these championships such a great success.
Full results can be found on the BRC website. With pictures posted on the BRC Facebook page.
Childéric Saddles UK are delighted to announce that they are sponsoring the Elementary Championships at the Le Mieux National Dressage Championships (20th – 23rd September 2018)
The sponsorship of the Childéric Saddles Elementary series has seen the brand supporting all eight Regional Championships, in the lead up to the finals at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire in the autumn.
Now in their third term of sponsorship, Childéric Saddles UK are delighted to continue to support what is the highlight of the dressage competition calendar, as Tricia Bracegirdle, MD of Childéric Saddles UK explains:
“We are thrilled to part of this fantastic event and look forward to catching up with our customers and in many cases watching them in action.”
The brand work with a number of high profile riders across the world of dressage including Fiona Bigwood, Anders Dahl, Becky Moody and just recently announced, Henry Boswell, to name just a few. Childéric Saddles UK will also have a visible presence in the shopping area at the Nationals with their saddlery emporium, where visitors can see their collection of beautiful bespoke saddles and meet the team.
For further information: www.childericsaddles.co.uk
Image shows Childéric Saddles UK Ambassador Becky Moody riding at the Nationals last year. Photo by Kevin Sparrow.