NAF Five Star Winter Championships: day three
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Friday the 13th may be unlucky for some, but not for many on day three at the NAF Five Star Winter Championships.
A repeat winner was Jodie Pharoan with the Belissimo M son, Bear, in the Albion Medium Silver Championship. Winners of yesterday’s Charles Owen Advanced Medium Silver, the handsome nine-year-old gelding and new mum, Jodie, were awarded a score of 72.07% to take the class ahead of Dylan Deutrom aboard Sarah Warry and Matt Hicks’ talented Sunlit Uplands who took second.
“I’m so happy with him,” beamed Jodie after the prize-giving. “I came here thinking I might have been in with a chance today, but to win yesterday and then do this, it’s just amazing. I’m so happy.”
“He has very good paces and is just so rideable. His half passes and mediums are very good and he’s such a good worker,” said Jodie who clearly dotes on the adorable horse.
Jodie trains with Tiggi Bentley and Emile Faurie and found Bear in Germany as three-year-old. “We tried many horses but I loved Bear straightaway. He’s amazing under saddle, though he can be a little opinionated from the ground,” she smiled. “He’s a wonderful horse. He loves his work, he loves the attention and he loves competition.”
Jodie and her mum, Laura, have clocked up more 400 miles over the course of the show travelling back and forth between Hartpury and home in Oxfordshire to take care of baby daughter, Bailey.
Blue Chip Novice Gold
Charlotte Dujardin and Hawtins San Floriana, a mare she co-owns with Carl Hester, were once again on winning form. The pair, who took Thursday’s Equi-Trek Elementary Gold came back today to claim the Blue Chip Novice Gold in convincing style.
Charlotte and the San Amour x Florestan six-year-old scored 74.33% to take the class ahead of Bryony Goodwin and Hawtins Soave in the runners-up spot and Jessica Thompson with Soensmindes Sylvester in third.
“Today she was hotter, maybe because she’d already done a prize-giving, but I’m so pleased with her,” enthused Charlotte. “Even though she was hot, she was still focused – I’m very happy.”
“For me it’s great to bring my younger horses and give them this experience. It’s a big ask in this atmosphere; it’s a great preparation and a great education. In the warm up here it’s quiet, then in the main arena there’s so much going on - noise above you, and lots of atmosphere - it’s fantastic to expose them to this."
Charlotte is a great advocate of competing horses during the earlier stages of their career. “I love doing the lower levels. It teaches me so much about the horses. They’ve all got different quirks that as a rider I have to work out and manage. And I really enjoy the stages of training. Enjoying this part of the training is what it’s all about.”
Describing ‘Flo’, Charlotte said; “She’s a fantastic horse and I have really high hopes for her. She’s hot, she’s elastic, and a real pleasure. She has so much power, so much presence and is very clever. She does beautiful flying changes, she’s very adjustable and is very gifted. She’s so clever that at Novice level there’s not really enough for her to think about. The more there is to do, and the more I challenge her, the more she takes it on.”
Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Silver
Yesterday’s Charles Owen Advanced Medium runners-up Dannie Morgan and Southern Cross Braemar made today their day by taking an emphatic victory in the Nupafeed Advanced Medium Silver Championship. The talented pair earned a mark of 72.50%.
Dannie and Southern Cross Braemar, an eight-year-old son of Breitling W, danced their way to victory accompanied by their Jackson Five soundtrack – an engaging compilation by music supremo Sara Green. Braemar, who is affectionately known as Barry, is described by Dannie as ‘an amazing horse’; “He always tries so hard for me. He was second here yesterday and he was second here last year, so he deserves to win this – to have his moment."
As the horse is so secure in the work, Dannie was able to up the ante with the degree of difficulty, incorporating tricky moves including canter serpentines with flying changes into counter-canter. An effort which certainly paid off.
“Erik Theilgaard helped work us in today. His knowledge is vast and he’s transformed my riding,” said Dannie who went into the competition ‘full of confidence’.
“I was so thrilled,” he smiled, before admitting to being a touch emotional when he saw his score. “The horse so deserves this.”
Dannie is the consummate horseman, excelling in both the disciplines of pure dressage and eventing. He is based half an hour from the Oppenheimer family's Headmore Stud where he plays a vital role as a rider.
Petplan Equine Area Festival Novice Bronze Championship
Ace by name and ace by nature, The Ace of Spades, as he’s more formally known, lived up to his name to win the Petplan Equine Area Festival Novice Bronze Championship with his rider and owner Deanne Courtnadge. They took the class on a score of 69.55%, closely
followedby Joanne Blood on her own Felicia IV with 68.89%.
Deanne, from Yately in Hampshire, had never even ridden a dressage test until she bought Ace 18 months earlier, “Before, I’d done a lot of showing, this is only my second proper year in dressage, I’d done breed shows, showing in hand and did a lot of county shows with my stallions but I’ve never done dressage. It’s totally new for me!”
Instructor, Diane Peacock, who had owned and ridden Ace previously, recommended the ride, “I sold my last show pony and I didn’t ride for about eight years until Di said ‘ride my dressage horse’ - I rode him and that was it! He’s taught me everything in dressage.”
Deanne was over the moon with their performance today, “It went so much better than I expected, it was very straight and there were no errors, it was a clear round. He’s got a really good medium trot and a cracking canter.” She’s now looking ahead to stepping up a level for their next Area Festival, “We’ve already qualified at Elementary level for this year, and once I’ve mastered sitting trot I might give medium a go, he’s quite bouncy!”
Petplan Equine Novice Silver Area Festival Championships
Taking the highest score of the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships so far was Gemma Somers with William Shufflebottom’s stunning Hallucination. The talented duo scored 73.06% to top the Petplan Equine Novice Silver Area Festival despite being the first combination to trot down the centre line in the 32-strong class.
‘It’s amazing to win’, said Gemma, ‘It’s her first time here so it’s been quite daunting for her! She’s been perfect all day for the prize giving this evening she got a bit overwhelmed!’
‘I broke her in so I’ve been her only rider, we started at unaffiliated competitions, joined with BD and progressed from there. She’s just started the next level so I’d like to go as far as we can, I’ll aim for the Home International this year too.’
Speaking about her test Gemma said, ‘She was really calm and relaxed – she can get quite tense and shoot off when she doesn’t like the look of something – but today she didn’t she was just with me the whole time, it was a lovely test and I’m really pleased with her.’
Freelance rider Gemma will also be working with Hallucination’s half-brother in the future so watch this space for more success!
Petplan Equine Advanced Medium Silver Area Festival Championship
The final Area Festival title of the day was claimed by 22-year-old Kirsty Imm aboard her own 11-year-old son of Baroncelli, Barnebie who eased their way to the top with a solid score of 70%.
‘I was really happy with my test, although I wasn’t expecting the score I got at all, which was even nicer!’ exclaimed an ecstatic Kirsty. ‘My walk didn’t go particularly to plan, I think he was a little overwhelmed by the atmosphere, but he was really good and pulled it together for me.’
Placing second in their Area Festival and then winning their Final, the dynamic duo, who’ve been together for two years, knew they were in with a chance of grabbing a top spot although things haven’t always been easy or straightforward.
‘When I first got him, I found him really difficult and struggled to ride him if I’m honest. It took a lot for me to gain his confidence, it’s all down to understanding each other, I didn’t compete him for the first year and now the trust is there he’s like a completely different horse.’
The duo also celebrated success yesterday, placing sixth in the Charles Owen Advanced Medium Silver Championship with 67.54% after winning their first Regional Championships together earlier this year. Trained by Henry Boswell, Kirsty and Barnebie are aiming to contest the Premier Leagues this summer at PSG with the hope to eventually go international, judging on their performance this week they’re heading towards a bright future.
Superflex Inter I Gold Championship
After a five year break from the Winter Championships, Sadie Smith and Keystone Dynamite are back with a bang as they topped the leaderboard in the Superflex Inter I Gold Championship with 71.84%
‘The last time I rode here with him was five years ago at Novice and we couldn’t even get round,’ exclaimed a delighted Sadie. ‘Last year was my first year at Small Tour, we went to the Nationals and to be fair he was brilliant but he’s been the trickiest thing so to win this just means the world to me.’
Last to go in the class today, Sadie and the ten-year-old Dimaggio gelding known as ‘Mambo’ at home pipped Jayden Brown and Mount St John De La Beaute to the post (69.21%) with a test that showed great maturity, which is not too surprising as she’s working for one of dressage’s ultimate test riders, Carl Hester.
‘I couldn’t have done this without Carl and Charlotte, since I’ve been working [at Carl’s] he’s just transformed into a completely different horse. He has to cope with Carl’s birds for one,’ she laughed. ‘[Mambo] can be very nervous – we couldn’t even get down Carl’s drive when we first came but the routine has been brilliant as it’s so regimented. Carl and Charlotte have ridden him a couple of times now, it’s taken a while as neither of them would ride him to start with because he’s so naughty but they’ve been helping me with my one-time changes as I’m learning too.’
With some internationals at Small Tour on the cards this year for Sadie and Mambo and an aim of Grand Prix in the not too distant future, it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing a lot more of this talented duo.