Hickstead CDIO/CDI - day two
- Written By:
After yesterday’s competitive Prix St Georges, it was Jess Dunn who triumphed today in the Inter I with Jennifer Whittaker’s Alicante Valley. Drawn early at fifth to go at 8:30 this morning, Jess put together a polished test with ‘Chello’ to set the early pace 73.23% in their sixth international of 2019 together. They went in the peak of the heat yesterday but thankfully it clouded over to give a bit of relief. Jess admitted to being a bit worried what yesterday may have taken out of the big moving Caricello 14 year old but she needn’t have as, in her words, ‘he came out fresh as a daisy’.
Her biggest threat was yesterday’s winner, Luis Principe but R.S. Raphael was a bit on the spooky side today to pin their marks back to 71.42%, normally enough to win many a class, but today it was Jess and Chello’s day. “He was awesome!” proudly declared Jess who’s had a remarkable season internationally so far. “I struggle with his power at times so I’ve made a few changes at home. He was wild at Hartpury…and I heard a comment on the livestream which said he was a bit fat so he’s been on a strict diet. I’ve forced myself to work more on the trot too as I admit I avoided it. But 101 transitions later and we’re improving! He’s been super this week, really on it, and I’m dead proud of him today."
The CDI3* got underway with a strong Grand Prix class which was hard to call a favourite for the win from the long list of entries. Vicky Thompson Winfield set the early pace with the ever popular Mango Jacaro, owned by Samantha Francis, on a strong 68.89% with some fabulous piaffe/passage. The next contender was Laura Tomlinson with the powerful black Rhodium sired stallion Duval’s Capri Sonne Jr. ‘Cas’ as Laura calls him at home put up an impressive performance at Hartpury but a lapse in concentration marred a high score but today, with the help of trainer Klaus Balkenhol, he looked focussed and excelled in what went wrong at Hartpury but it was the tempi changes which eluded him today. Such is his the power of each change that he just doesn’t have enough room. Laura was brave as ever to ride a powerful extended canter but again, there was so much power, he changed before asked as she couldn’t collect in time. The quality was there to merit 70.15% so when it all comes right for the duo, the scores will be impressive.
However, the top honours went to a rider who earned her senior flag here at Hickstead exactly a year ago and what a 12 months it’s been for the show rider turned dressage star. Fresh from a crowd pleasing performance at Aachen last weekend, Louise Bell and Tonya Wood’s Into the Blue just oozed quality today – in fact if anything, ‘Dynamo’ was a bit on his toes – cheeky really. It was relatively mistake free, just a few unrequired one time changes at the end of the line of twos were the only blips. The final aggregate score was 70.3% and it wasn’t a unanimous win – two of the five judges had the duo first and others ranged down to fifth.
It will take a while for her first international win to sink in; after hearing the final result, Louise chatted and told us; “He was totally full of energy in the warm up which was NOT what I expected after Aachen. I was extremely lucky to have Carl [Hester] here to help me warm up this morning and we kept him very entertained! He gave me exercises to help with the flying changes as I had trouble in Aachen including changes on a circle. It helped as they felt great but in the two I had nine perfect ones and then he took matters into his own hands and slipped in a couple ones! His piaffe and passage felt epic today! He’s certainly not the finished article either which is so exciting. We’re get the reward for what he does well and the rest we’ll carry on working on. It just makes me so happy to have a horse so happy in his work!”
Amazing to think the bubbly roan gelding last won here as a six year old when he and Louise galloped round the main ring iconic Hicstead jumping arena as supreme working hunter champions. What a journey they’ve had in seven years.
The finale of the FEI Dressage Nations Cup series started with the Grand Prix and on the eve of selection, new mum Lara Butler made a last minute case for her inclusion in the Rotterdam team with a win with the Bechtolsheimer’s Rubin al Asad. They rode a strong ‘clear round’ and ‘Rufus’ belied his 17 years, looking as fresh as ever. 73.76% was the score with the judges largely agreeing on his score although there were two 75% plus marks amongst the five. Hayley Watson-Greaves and Rubins Nite were next best Brits in fifth on 71.17%. ‘Squeaks’ looked a picture as ever today but he had his mind set on a gremlin he decided was living in the K marker which caused him to miss a one time change on the diagonal headed to K which was followed by a loss of rhythm at the end of the line. Ever the professional, Hayley got him back and rode her final extended trot towards the dreaded K marker on full power with Squeaks showing his trademark trot with controlled power to everyone’s delight.
Sara Gallop was the team pathfinder with Bandreo and they showed some great work today but he was another feeling fresh for some momentary concentration lapses for some errors. They posted 68.5% which left them ninth overall.
Emile Faurie and Hof Kasselmann’s Café’s Caletta are continuing to develop their partnership and the mare is really developing into a strong Grand Prix contenders but today wasn’t their top performance. There was some inconsistencies in the piaffe and an unfortunate loss of canter in the first pirouette which then impacted the centre line flying change. But the changes are much stronger and her work more secure, 65.67% was their final score.
The strongest showing of the day was from the Portugese team with all four riders partnering Lusitanos. Lara may have won but their counting riders finished in second, third and seventh which leaves them on a score of 12 and leaders overnight. Britain is second 15, the Netherlands third with 23 and Ireland are fourth with 30. So it’s close at the top with the Grand Prix Special to come tomorrow. Emile and Sara are our nominated riders with Lara and Hayley in the Freestyle on Sunday.
After the prize giving Lara said; “Finally…a mistake free test! He was super but he still tests me. I seem to leave it to the last minute to peak as it was all right today. He just keeps carrying on getting better and better but with that extra sparkle. It’s great to do well at a ‘home’ international and even though it only my third show since coming back, our average is better this year. I feel the break gave me time to refresh and refocus which has made me more determined than ever.”
In the u21 sections it was Individual test day. In the Young Rider ranks it was a rise from the third of yesterday to a win today for Norway’s Kaja Tharaldsen Olsen with Solhoej’s Lord Falcor on 68.67% and Ruth Hole was the best Brit in second with Easy VZ, who events for fun, with 67.69%. Emely van Loon continued her winning streak for Germany in the Juniors with FBW Despereaux with all three judges declaring her the winner on an overall score of 71.37%. Jessie Kriby was second and best of the home side with Belle Amie on 69.6%. Olivia Whitelaw topped the podium for Britain with Brouwershavens’s Viceroy on 69.14% in the Pony ranks.
The action continues with a full day tomorrow and remember you can watch the International arena live via Horse & Country TV on subscription – just £5.99 per month which give you access to lots of great content and live streams.