Lottie Fry pilots Don Joe and Dark Legend to victory in Exloo

  • Written By: British Dressage | Joanna Bowns
  • Published: Wed, 11 Jan 2023 13:47

World number one Lottie Fry dominated the CDI3* Big Tour classes at Exloo CDI (05 – 08 January 2023), winning both the Grand Prix and Special with her long-time ride, Dark Legend, plus the Freestyle with promising young talent, Don Joe (pictured). Annabella Pidgley and Gio performed strongly on their second Senior appearance, while Van Olst Horses’ Jackson made a winning international debut and Angus Corrie-Deane and Jack Johnson 2 placed well at Small Tour.

Van Olst Horses’ young stallion Don Joe (pictured) made the step to Big Tour in 2022 with outings to Lier and Leeuwarden CDIs. Last week’s show, hosted by the Netherlands venue of Hippisch Centrum Exloo, was only the third international outing at the level for the Diego x Lord Leatherdale 10-year-old, and it marked a promising start to his 2023 campaign.

Following sixth place in the Grand Prix, scoring just shy of 72.00%, Lottie and Don Joe claimed the Grand Prix Freestyle on Saturday evening by a sizeable margin of almost two percent. Riding to a freestyle programme featuring tracks by Coldplay and Josh Vietti, the 26-year-old British star presented a test displaying the capable young stallion’s undoubted class to win on 77.895%.

Exloo CDI 2023 was Dark Legend’s first appearance since the FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ in Rotterdam last June, and he once again acquitted himself well with his pleasing and fluent way of going to win Friday evening’s Grand Prix in front of the judges Clive Halsall (GBR) at E, Maria Colliander (FIN) at H, Susanne Baarup (DEN) at C, Janine van Twist (NED) at M and Jacques van Daele (BEL) at B.

Gaining a mark of 73.783%, Lottie and ‘Darky’, as the Zucchero x Tango gelding is known at home, took a commanding lead in advance of Danish contenders, Daniel Bachmann Andersen with the 12-year-old stallion Vayron (72.652%), and Charlotte Heering with the 17-year-old Negro son, Bufranco (72.565%).

The sensitive, 15-year-old Dark Legend, who is co-owned by Lottie and her employer Van Olst Horses, has partnered Lottie all the way from Young Riders through to a Senior European Championships team, as well as six Nations Cup appearances over recent years. It was here at Exloo in 2018 that this celebrated partnership made history winning Individual Silver and Freestyle Gold at the FEI Dressage U25 European Championships.

The CDI3* start list also featured the bright young duo of 18-year-old Annabella Pidgley and Gio (Apache x Tango), whose budding partnership continues to grow. They presented an accomplished and stylish Grand Prix performance, on only their second Senior international appearance together, to earn 71.978% for fifth place on the leader board.

The following day of competition proved to be another good day at the office for Great Britain’s contingent, including a British one-two on the Grand Prix Special podium. Lottie and Dark Legend took the win on 74.298%, ahead of Annabella and Gio (73.276%), with Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Vayron completing the podium (72.766%).

Annabella took to social media to say, “I was so proud of Pumpkin (Gio) at our second international competition, where we came fifth in a strong GP class with nearly 72%, and with a few mistakes.

“I am still new and learning a lot at this level but we stepped it up in the Grand Prix Special, coming second with 73% and still with so much to improve on. I could not be more proud of my special boy and I feel so grateful to be able to do such competitions with him.

“Thank you so much to Charlotte (Dujardin) for coming to train and support me and to Cathrine (Laudrup-Dufour) for the continued support. These milestones we share together.”

Lottie Fry and fellow Brit Angus Corrie-Deane also performed well in the Small Tour. Lottie rode Van Olst Horses’ nine-year-old Everdale son, Jackson to win the CDI1* Prix St Georges on 72.108%. They also claimed the runner-up spot behind Belgium’s Isabel Cool and Herr Charmeur Coolhorses in the Inter I.

Angus Corrie-Deane, who made the recent move to be based in the Netherlands, also impressed competing Jack Johnson 2 (Johnson x Scandic) at the 10-year-old gelding’s first CDI on mainland Europe. Angus (24) and ‘Jacob’, as the attractive bay is known at home, finished on the podium all three days, completing their week with a fantastic second place in the Inter I Freestyle.

“On the final day we decided to really go for it in the music and to be honest he felt incredible,” said Angus on social media. “We scored +72% in this and finished second (even with a few mistakes). Each day we were less than 1% off the winner, which fills me with so much inspiration for the future, as there is still so much more to come. I couldn’t be prouder for how he has started his international career at Small Tour.”

Competing in the CDIU25 divisions, young Netherlands-based rider, Emily Bradshaw achieved promising results with her mother Sue's 14-year-old gelding, Enjoy Amaris V (Apache x Clint Eastwood). The British pair took fourth place in the Grand Prix 16-25 with 67.564% and third place in Sunday's 16-25 Grand Prix Freestyle on a score just shy of 70%. 

Results – top three and British placings
CDI3* Grand Prix
1. Charlotte Fry and Dark Legend, 73.783% (GBR)
2. Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Vayron, 72.652% (DEN)
3. Charlotte Heering and Bufranco, 72.565% (DEN)
5. Annabella Pidgley and Gio, 71.978% (GBR)
6. Charlotte Fry and Don Joe, 71.913% (GBR)
7. Charlotte Fry and Lars van de Hoenderheide, 69.087% (GBR)

CDI3* Grand Prix Special
1. Charlotte Fry and Dark Legend, 74.298% (GBR)
2. Annabella Pidgley and Gio, 73.276% (GBR)
3. Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Vayron, 72.766% (DEN)

CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle
1. Charlotte Fry and Don Joe, 77.895% (GBR)
2. Lynne Maas and Electra, 75.925% (NED)
3. Charlotte Heering and Bufranco, 75.030% (DEN)

CDI1* Prix St Georges
1. Charlotte Fry and Jackson, 72.108% (GBR)
2. Isabel Cool and Herr Charmeur Coolhorses, 71.863% (BEL)
3. Angus Corrie-Deane and Jack Johnson 2, 71.226% (GBR)

CDI1* Intermediate I
1. Isabel Cool and Herr Charmeur Coolhorses, 70.686% (BEL)
2. Charlotte Fry and Jackson, 70.539% (GBR)
3. Angus Corrie-Deane and Jack Johnson 2, 69.657% (GBR)

CDI1* Intermediate I Freestyle
1. Isabel Cool and Herr Charmeur Coolhorses, 73.333% (BEL)
2. Angus Corrie-Deane and Jack Johnson 2, 72.817% (GBR)
3. Kizzy Halkett and Flambo, 70.933% (BEL)

CDIU25 Intermediate II
1. Marten Luiten and Fynona, 72.500% (NED)
2. Zoe Kuintjes and Cupido, 70.735% (NED)
3. Daphne van Peperstraten and Greenpoint’s Cupido, 68.480% (NED)
5. Emily Bradshaw and Enjoy Amaris V, 64.559% (GBR)

CDIU25 Grand Prix 16-25
1. Marten Luiten and Fynona, 72.393% (NED)
2. Zoe Kuintjes and Cupido, 69.872% (NED)
3. Daphne van Peperstraten and Greenpoint’s Cupido, 68.974% (NED)
4. Emily Bradshaw and Enjoy Amaris V, 67.564% (GBR)

CDIU25 Grand Prix Freestyle
1. Marten Luiten and Fynona, 77.000% (NED)
2. Zoe Kuintjes and Cupido, 73.375% (NED)
3. Emily Bradshaw and Enjoy Amaris V, 69.950% (GBR)


Photo © Pieter Sorber