Equissage Pulse Para Gold Semi Finals
- Written By:
The great and good of British para dressage took centre stage during the first two days of the Wellington Premier League show in Heckfield, Hampshire (5 – 10 June 2019).
The Waterloo Arena was the setting for the semi finals of the Equissage Pulse Para Gold Championships which attracted many of the country’s top riders competing for a coveted place at the LeMieux National Championships at Stoneleigh in September.
Reigning Individual and Freestyle World Champion, Sophie Wells, was untouchable in the Grade V Individual, scoring 75.774% with Charlotte Hoggs’s C Fatal Attraction. The 12 year old Fidertanz son, who is known as Jorge, was Sophie's medal-winning partner at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon last year. The pair look on track for great things once again this year having achieved phenomenal results in both para and able-bodied competition.
Katie Radzik and her Florencio x Balder 12 year old C’est La Vie were victorious in the Grade IV Team Test. The contenders from Kent earned a solid 67%, ahead of second-placed Rachel Collins and Finetime (by Fifty Cent). The Grade IV Individual belonged to Nicky Greenhill with Gary Greenhill's King Edward I, a black 11 year old she has partnered since 2015. Nicky who is visually impaired and relies on husband Gary calling the markers to navigate the arena, took to Facebook to say, “Super proud of Eddie today winning the Semi Finals at Wellington on +71%. So much love for this horse it’s ridiculous!”
Erin Orford, who was celebrating a birthday during the show, added to the festivities with a win in the Team test aboard her 2017 FEI European Championships and 2018 WEG partner, Dior UKH. Erin and the 16 year old Dimaggio x Hitchcock mare, who is owned by Annabel Whittet, scored 72.20%.
Georgia Wilson and her British-bred mare, Midnight II, showed all the quality that led to their selection as reserves for WEG 2018. The pair from Wales, who train with Sophie Wells, enjoyed a convincing win in the Grade II Team test with a mark of plus-71%. Julie Payne who famously won triple gold with Athene Lindebjerg at the 2017 Europeans was on top form with long-term ride Pandora. Pandora has been a faithful servant to Julie and at the age of 18 years young is looking as good as ever. The established pair won the Grade II Individual convincingly with 74.191%.
Mari Durward-Akhurst and Sky O’Hara (pictured) won the Team and Individual with 71.16% and 72.23% respectively. Sky O’Hara, a 20 year old Welt Hit II gelding owned by Glesni Owen has been Mari’s competition partner since 2012 and they're the reigning Equissage Pulse Para Gold Grade I Champions. Mari is looking forward to defending her title at Stoneleigh and what’s more, she has two rides qualified having secured the Individual test runner-up spot with her 10 year old Laudabilis gelding, Lebensfreude who's affectionately known as ‘Bear’.
“I do not think the fact that I came first and second yesterday has sunk in yet” said Mari on Facebook. “Or the fact that I got over 70% with Bear and 72%+ with Sky! Or the fact that I have qualified both boys for the Gold Nationals! Hard work really does pay off and I cannot thank my team enough!
British Dressage thanks Niagara Equissage for their sponsorship of the Equissage Pulse Para Dressage Championships and the team at Wellington Riding for putting on a fantastic event. Congratulations to all the winners listed below and to all those who took part.
Wednesday 5 June
Class 2: Equissage Pulse Grade IV Team Test
Katie Radzik with C’est La Vie, 67.000%
Class 3: Equissage Pulse Grade III Team Test
Erin Orford with Dior UKH, 72.206%
Class 4: Equissage Pulse Grade II Team Test
Georgia Wilson with Midnight II, 71.061%
Class 5: Equissage Pulse Grade I Team Test
Mari Durward-Akhurst with Sky O’Hara, 71.161%
Thursday 6 June
Class 10: Equissage Pulse Grade V Individual Test
Sophie Wells with C Fatal Attraction. 75.774%
Class 11: Equissage Pulse Grade IV Individual Test
Nicky Greenhill with King Edward I, 71.159%
Class 13: Equissage Pulse Grade II Individual Test
Julie Payne with Pandora, 74.191%
Class 14: Equissage Pulse Grade I Individual Test
Mari Durward-Akhurst with Sky O’Hara, 72.232%