On top of the world: Lottie and Glamourdale take World Championship Gold
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Lottie Fry and Glamourdale have won the Grand Prix Special gold medal at the ECCO FEI World Championships in Herning, Denmark. An outstanding new PB of 82.508% planted this phenomenal young British combination at the top of the podium in a sensational showdown of the world’s best.
Lottie (26) and Van Olst Horses’ unparalleled talent, Glamourdale, took prime podium position by a margin of more than one percent ahead of the home nation’s Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour with Vamos Amigos (81.322%) and the Netherlands’ Dinja van Liere with Hermes (79.407%), with what can only be described as a performance to remember for a lifetime.
Lottie rode the test of her career so far, with Glamourdale answering every question. The powerful Dutch stallion moves over the ground with great fluidity and regularity. Seamless gear shifts and transitions between movements coupled with supreme expression and balance earned a plethora of high marks as he progressed through the test, skilfully guided by the exemplary riding of the Netherlands-based Brit. No fewer than 16 tens were awarded, with the extended canter and two-tempis particular highlights.
“The best feeling in the world,” was young Lottie’s reaction after achieving Great Britain’s first World Championships Grand Prix Special gold medal since Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro shone bright at Caen in 2014. In an afternoon of glorious world class competition, Lottie and “Glammy” have undoubtedly etched themselves not only in the World Championships roll of honour but also in the history books of dressage.
“This is incredible,” said Lottie following her test, yet before the conclusion of the class. “I have no words for this, it is just insane, I cannot believe it is happening right now. To be able to get 82% is just what dreams are made of.
“He [Glamourdale] was incredible, the atmosphere was incredible, and he went in there and did everything I asked. The changes were bigger than yesterday, the pirouettes were better than yesterday, the piaffes were better than yesterday... he was just ready for it today."
When asked if it was one of the best rides of her life, Lottie responded without hesitation, “Yes, 100%. The feeling he gives when he goes in the arena is like no other. He’s just such a massive showman and he takes me with him on that. It’s an incredible feeling to sit on Glamourdale.
“I didn’t dare to dream about this,” she said, just as confirmation came in that she had won the gold medal. “It’s so incredible. I literally have no words right now. I’m probably going to burst into tears any minute – it’s just unreal.”
Eleven-year-old Glamourdale (Lord Leatherdale x Negro) already has a world champion title to his name, having been crowned seven-year-old winner at the FEI WBFSH Dressage World Breeding Championships a few short years ago. It’s testament to the management and training by Lottie and the Van Olst Horses team that this outstanding horse is fulfilling his potential. And looking at what he’s capable of, this is possibly just the beginning.
Following Great Britain’s team silver medal success and qualification for Paris 2024 accomplished, for which Gareth Hughes and Classic Briolinca helped to lay down such a strong foundation, today Gareth and this wonderful 16-year-old mare (pictured above) performed superbly once again; the duo finished seventh on the leader board, from a start list that featured the top 30 Grand Prix starters drawn in six groups of five within reverse order of merit.
After the midway break, it was into the business end of the competition starring the top 15 scorers from the past two days of Grand Prix. Drawn third to go after the halfway stage, Gareth, the ultimate cool customer, and Classic Briolinca delivered a superb round creating an incredible picture of togetherness and power.
The Trento B-sired mare, who Gareth owns along with wife Rebecca, daughter Ruby, and Julia Hornig, was presented with much preparation and calm by her rider. The first part of the Special is all about collection and extension, and Briolinca executes the transitions between each with brilliance. A minor loss of rhythm in an extended trot cost some marks, though they later clawed them back, and then some, with beautiful lines of changes followed by outstanding pirouettes that had judges reaching for the 10 button. A final mark of 77.280% rocketed them into the provisional lead.
“The other day we did a really good test but there was a little bit of tension there,” commented Gareth afterwards. “Today, she felt really calm and relaxed so I could ride a lot more positively. She doesn’t have huge, natural scope to her basic paces, but for all the collected work she has such good mechanics and she’s so regular. You can really ride her on the marker and I feel like I can ride ‘nice’, which is so important. Even though we want to do as well as we can, I think that nice riding should be in the forefront of our mind. If I come out and feel that I’ve ridden nice and done a mistake-free test, I’m happy with my horse.”
Talking about the pirouettes, which were the subject of much admiration, Gareth smiled, “We like her pirouettes! We don’t do a lot of them, but she knows them and she knows when it’s got to happen. She locks on and we always smash out six to eight steps. We come out, wave to the judge and carry on!
“She’s always done good pirouettes, but they have got better and better," he added. "She’s one of those [horses]. In the passage, tempi changes and pirouettes, she sort of locks on to a rhythm – she holds the rhythm – so that each step’s exactly the same.”
Along with Lottie and Glamourdale, Charlotte Dujardin and Imhotep (pictured above) were drawn within the final group of five riders. Charlotte has all the experience in the world which has undoubtedly rubbed off on her newest star, the exceptional talent “Pete”. Placed fourth individually yesterday, the nine-year-old Everdale son once again displayed his immense potential competing, remarkably, at only his third ever international show and his third Grand Prix Special.
The powerful, energetic chestnut moves with such fluid strength, showing great power and regularity in the half passes and passage, super transitions within the paces, and a natural ability to sit in the piaffe. A couple of minor glitches cost this pair some marks; however, the glimpses of brilliance were abundant. A super final piaffe on the final centre line, a huge smile from Charlotte and big pat for Pete preceded the announcement of a fantastic 77.523% to ultimately place them sixth.
“At the moment the only thing I can’t do is slow down!” smiled Charlotte afterwards. "I feel like I’m on high speed and full power. Pete needs to learn to go a little bit less to make his life and my life easier, but he’s just so enthusiastic - that’s how much power he has.
“At the moment it’s about finding that control," she continued. "He can’t quite manage that power yet, which is why he still makes mistakes, but once he gets it all under control, and waits for me, I think it’s going to be spectacular. What he offers is so much - it’s incredible. The feeling he gives is as if he’s on springs. He is so much fun."
A further set of FEI medals are on offer Wednesday, after a well-earned rest day, with the top 15 combinations from today’s Special through to the Grand Prix Freestyle. Lottie Fry, Charlotte Dujardin and Gareth Hughes all progress after their great performances today. Click here to find out how to watch and follow the freestyle live.
British Dressage congratulates Lottie, Charlotte, Gareth and Richard on their Herning successes so far. Thank you to the team behind the team from Team GBR, which is only possible through the vital funding from UK Sport, via the National Lottery. And thank you to the owners and grooms who support these combinations and enable the dressage public to enjoy their performances and make us proud.
Grand Prix Special – top ten
1. Charlotte Fry and Glamourdale, 82.508% (GBR)
2. Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour and Vamos Amigos, 81.322% (DEN)
3. Dinja van Liere and Hermes, 79.407% (NED)
4. Isabell Werth and DSP Quantaz, 79.073% (GER)
5. Benjamin Werndl and Famoso OLD, 78.237% (GER)
6. Charlotte Dujardin and Imhotep, 77.523% (GBR)
7. Gareth Hughes and Classic Briolinca, 77.280% (GBR)
8. Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Marshall-Bell, 76.520% (DEN)
9. Adrienne Lyle and Salvino, 75.699% (USA)
10. Patrik Kittel and Touchdown, 75.486% (SWE)
Photo © Kevin Sparrow