Dujardin completes Bolesworth hattrick in a day of new PBs
- Written By:
It was a perfect day at the office for Charlotte Dujardin despite the continued wet and grey conditions at the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show as she took both the Theraplate UK Grand Prix Special and the Equitop Myoplast Grand Prix Freestyle to complete a Boleswoth hattrick.
The morning’s Special was a perfect chance to put some of the potential team members for this year’s FEI European Championships in Rotterdam head to head and measure where they are in their training.
Gareth Hughes upset the equilibrium for some with his second place yesterday riding his wife Rebecca’s Classic Briolinca and today’s test looked like it could do the same. There were no major mistakes for a clear round with some very strong piaffe/passage work despite the Trento B mare not having much experience of the test. The judges rewarded it with 76.78%, just shy of their PB they scored when winning the Special in Compiegne in May but it did give them the lead.
Emile Faurie was next to go with Hof Kasselmann’s newest star, Café’s Caletta, in only the mare’s fourth international and her first ever Special. Originally bred and produced to show jump, she posted 70.65% in the GP yesteday and was sixth in hot company and today she looked more at home in the expansive Bolesworth International arena. A few green mistakes in the technically demanding test lead to 69.31% but there’s so much more to come as this partnership develops and she becomes more established.
Next was the turn of Charlotte and yesterday’s Grand Prix victor, Emma and Jill Blundell’s Mount St John Freestyle and again it was breathtaking to watch. The ‘ring’ rustiness’ of yesterday put behind them and Charlotte said she ‘had a word with herself’ after overriding yesterday. Just a late transition from walk to passage was the only blip – and it was minor. The canter pirouettes were captivating, half passes with extreme reach and trademark Dujardin transitions…just a privilege to watch. Judge at E Peter Storr awarded three four tens – both halts, the right canter pirouette and for her riding. A massive 82.97% was the score – a new PB and over 1.5% more than her previous best.
Henriette Andersen followed with her own Florencio I sired Flavio with a pleasing test which the judges hovered around the 6.5 to 7.0 mark throughout to score 69.8%, enough to go ahead of Emile.
The final rider was Carl Hester with Lady Anne Evans, Ann Cory and his own Hawtins Delicato and they upped their game more today with Carl riding with more ‘joie de vivre’. An agitated first halt, a missed change at the start of the line of two times and a flat change at the end of the extended canter diagonal were the only errors. The test was just more naturally forward with a bit more attack which the judges rewarded well with 78.93% - a new PB in a day of new records – to go second behind Charlotte and Freestyle.
After the prizegiving, Charlotte said; “I’ve not put that test [the Special] together at home but I watched the video of WEG so I knew what I wanted to recreate. Yesterday I was disappointed with myself as I overrode but today I was more relaxed and realized I needed to do less. She felt fantastic but I didn’t ride on full power and to say she can score like that is incredible. For her to extend like that and then come back to the extreme of passage feels incredible. And she does it through her body not tension and she’s so elastic, like a rubber ball.
“I have to be careful as a rider not to overdo it as she tries to give me more than I need. In the walk to piaffe movement I just tried to sit quietly but it didn’t happen but that was our only mistake really. When you have a ride like that and feel they’ve given everything gives you such a buzz and it quite emotional.”
Carl was clearly pleased with today’s performance; “Today everything came together and the score was where I wanted it to be; he felt so much better than yesterday. His piaffe and passage were so much better and I’m pleased my plan [of four shows in four weeks] has paid off. Sadly our mistakes were in the easy stuff but I got three good piaffes from him and the easy things can be fixed. Doing four competitions in a row has really changed the horses, and me! I’m really in to it and it’s paid off…as painful as it’s been!”
Always with an eye on the Championships, Carl added; “Results like yesterday and today are so important for the team. I’ve always said that it’s not good enough to have one rider to rely on. Now were here with three new horses that can score 75% plus and Gareth beating me yesterday is only a plus for the team going forward.”
Third placed Gareth was also in buoyant mood after a good performance; “I’m very happy. She was so consistent and actually took me by surprise by feeling a bit lazy in there. It’s so exciting; she doesn’t have the biggest paces naturally but this test, which she’s not done much, really opens her up and improves the extended paces. It’s a difficult test but in a different way to the Grand Prix which is technically difficult but this [the Special] is physically demanding. But she’s so strong in the piaffe and passage it really suits her.”
The Equitop Mypolast Freestyle followed after a slightly delayed start as result of the arena PA system giving up but the ever efficient Bolesworth team quickly had us up and running. Danish rider Ulrik Moelgaard set the early benchmark with his loyal partner now 18 year old Michigan, owned by Claus Munkedal, who danced to their upbeat Jackson Five medley to score 73.83%.
He was followed by Charlotte Dujardin, this time riding Sonnar Murray-Brown’s Erlentanz, riding to her favourite ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ music. Although it was mixed for Valegro, it’s perfect for the spritely ‘Erly’. It was a pleasure to watch with Charlotte clearly enjoying being able to ride without pressure and her equine partner so eager to please. No mistakes, every change on the beat and the perfect mix of difficulty set to an artistic floorplan. The judges scored a massive 84.1%...huge. The highest score she’s received since the days of Valegro and it was well deserved.
Richard Davison elected for the Freestyle with Gwendolyn Meyer’s Bubblingh, giving us the chance to watch his unique routine set to a variety of music including Robbie Williams and Gangsta’s Paradise. ‘Bubbles’ improves with each outing and 78.78% was just reward for a job well done to go second, their best score together and Richard’s highest ever mark internationally in all his years of competing.
Charlotte was beaming after prizegiving with Erly – it could have been that she finally had chance to do a lap of honour as all the ceremonies up until then had been unmounted in hospitality – or maybe it was the magical performance. “I just love riding this little horse!” she said. “He’s so much fun and just tries so hard. It was one of those tests where everything went to plan and I just didn’t want it to end. I’m not looking forward to the day when Sonnar is ready to have him back as, there may be tears!”
Sadly, the remainder of the show which now focuses on show jumping will take place behind closed doors as the already saturated ground won’t drain to safely park the public – but you can watch via www.britishequestriansport.tv.