Emile Faurie and Bellevue win Defender Grand Prix Freestyle at Windsor

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Fri, 03 May 2024 13:18

Against the iconic backdrop of Windsor Castle, Emile Faurie won the Defender CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle at the Royal Windsor Horse Show riding his own and Diana Rose’s mare Bellevue to a personal best score of 76.280%.

Emile Faurie and Bellevue

Second to Gareth Hughes and Classic Goldstrike in the previous day’s Grand Prix, Emile and Bellevue (Bordeaux 28 x Brentano II) went one better, with a beautifully-presented and mistake-free test earning 76.280%, to claim the Grand Prix Freestyle ahead of fellow Brit Lewis Carrier with Diego V (75.165%) and the British-based Singaporean Caroline Chew who delivered an impressive performance with Blue Hors Zatchmo for third (74.995%).

“She was great,” said Emile about the 13-year-old Oldenburg mare. “She’s not done many freestyles, so I kept the programme quite simple for her, but she just grew in confidence from yesterday. Today she was a much more relaxed horse and much more confident. I got the feeling she really enjoyed it.”

At 80.160%, the winning combination’s artistic mark was highest of the day. About his music, Emile said: “This music, Tom Hunt composed specially. It’s an original score and it really suits her. She’s so elegant and such a beautiful horse that you can’t have too dramatic powerful music, because it would overpower her, so I wanted something with a cinematic feel and that created a bit of emotion, but was still light and elegant enough to match her.

“We’ve not scratched the surface with her - I think there’s a lot more to come,” continued Emile. “We’ve had a bit of a tough year, all things considered. The last 16 months has been a bit on and off, so I haven’t even begun to see what that mare can do. She’s so honest and she’s so willing, and she really, really loves her work.”

Lewis Carrier and Diego V (Spielberg x Welt Hit II), third here last year and third in Wednesday’s Grand Prix, took second spot on the Freestyle podium on a super score of 75.165%. “I am absolutely thrilled,” said Lewis. “It’s an absolute privilege to ride in this arena at Windsor. Last year, the first year we came, we were third in the Freestyle. This year, one better and the scores are very similar which is just fantastic.

“He did London in December and now Windsor, but I think he needs to do some smaller shows to calm things down a bit,” smiled Lewis, “Because yesterday and today he’s coming into the halts and thinking it’s a party! He was a bit overexcited and we had a couple of little blips, but we managed to do enough to get second and to get a solid 75% in the Freestyle, so I’m absolutely thrilled with that.”

Gareth Hughes and Classic Goldstrike

Gareth Hughes partnered 13-year-old Classic Goldstrike (Tango x Krack C), who can only be described as the ultimate family horse, to win Wednesday’s Defender CDI4* Grand Prix, pictured above, before taking fifth place in the horse’s Freestyle debut with 74.070%.

“He’s a really special horse,” commented Gareth about the ride he shares with his wife Rebecca and daughter Ruby. “We’ve had him since a baby. Our daughter, at 15, did a Grand Prix on him, Rebecca’s done a Grand Prix on him and I’ve done Grand Prix on him, so he is a real family horse.

“He’s amazing. I rode him up to last Wednesday, before going to France for three days with a student competing at Fontainebleau CDI. Ruby then rode him at Addington over the weekend, he had a day off Monday, then came here. There’s no expectation with him, but he just steps up and delivers. He's just the sweetest horse and tries so hard, and he just goes and does things like this. He’s a sweetheart.”

About the Royal Windsor Horse Show, Gareth says: “I’ve been here four times now. I mean, does it get any better? The stabling is great, the footing is great, it runs really well, it’s a beautiful arena to ride in, the spectators are great, and we have the beautiful castle as the backdrop. It’s stunning.”

The Defender CDI4* Grand Prix
1. Gareth Hughes and Classic Goldstrike, 71.957% (GBR)
2. Emile Faurie and Bellevue, 69.326% (GBR)
3. Lewis Carrier and Diego V, 69.304% (GBR)
4. Caroline Chew and Blue Hors Zatchmo, 68.174% (SGP)
5. Louise Bell and Into the Blue, 67.087% (GBR)
6. Nikolas Kröncke and Flanell, 67.000% (GER)
7. Lisa Marriott and Valucio DH Z, 66.718% (GBR)
8. Jayden Brown and Willingapark Quincy B, 66.674% (AUS)
9. Sarah Rao and Alfranco, 64.891% (CHN)
10. Nathalie Wahlund and Cerano Gold, 64.174% (ITA)
11. Carolyn Mellor and Gouverneur M, 62.739% (IRL)
12. Anu Sironen and Fioretto, 59.174% (FIN)

The Defender CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle
1. Emile Faurie and Bellevue, 76.280% (GBR)
2. Lewis Carrier and Diego V, 75.165% (GBR)
3. Caroline Chew and Blue Hors Zatchmo, 74.995% (SGP)
4. Jayden Brown and Willingapark Quincy B, 74.415% (AUS)
5. Gareth Hughes and Classic Goldstrike, 74.070% (GBR)
6. Louise Bell and Into the Blue, 72.540% (GBR)
7. Nikolas Kröncke and Flanell, 71.100% (GBR)
8. Nathalie Wahlund and Cerano Gold, 69.440% (ITA)
9. Lisa Marriott and Valucio DH Z, 67.160% (GBR)
10. Sarah Rao and Alfranco, 65.785% (CHN)


Photo © Royal Windsor Horse Show