Pearson and Wells unbeaten at Hartpury CPEDI3*
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The CPEDI3* classes at Hartpury Festival of Dressage (05- 10 July) boasted a fantastic line-up of para dressage riders as competitors across the grades made their final mission for selection for the World Championships in Herning next month. Great Britain’s Sir Lee Pearson and Sophie Wells remained unbeaten all week, as did Ireland’s Michael Murphy.
Sophie Wells and her Tokyo ride, Don Cara M (by Don Jovi) - pictured above, owned by Rowland and Maria Kinch, stamped their authority with three outstanding victories in the Grade V, taking each by a considerable margin.
After an 11th hour call-up last summer, it was reserve horse Don Cara M who partnered Sophie at the Tokyo Paralympic Games – her third consecutive Games – where the pair won an individual silver and team gold. This year they’ve enjoyed consistent successes including hat-tricks at Deauville CPEDI, the Wellington Festival of Para Dressage, and now here at Hartpury.
“Another Hartpury CPEDI3* complete,” said Sophie on social media. “[I] Couldn’t be prouder of Don in particular. He has come so far and we have developed so much as a partnership in the last year. He won each day with 74.55%, 75.26% and 78.71% and the highest score of the show. He gives me goosebumps when we get it all together.”
Sophie also achieved second spot with her up-and-coming ride, Jillz Geuzenhof, owned by Charlotte Hogg. The tall, Charmeur-sired eight-year-old finished second to his stablemate in both the Grade V Team and Individual tests on scores of 71.465% and 71.333% respectively.
Sir Lee Pearson and Breezer (pictured above) who, like Sophie and Don Cara M, swept the board in their grade at Deauville and Wellington, won all three Grade II tests here at Hartpury. Pushed to the wire by Georgia Wilson with Sakura, Lee and his home-bred 11-year-old did enough to maintain their lead on all three days despite a spook in the Freestyle, which cost the pair a few marks.
Alongside competing in the CPEDI, Lee also contested Premier League PSG and Inter I classes with Breezer’s half-sister, Styletta.
“I was over the moon with how brave Breezer was as he’s a sensitive horse,” commented Lee. “Obviously he’s been to Tokyo, but there was not a crowd in Tokyo [due to Covid], so he was quite brave to cope with the audience up on ‘Hartpury Hill’. It was a brilliant competition, and I had Georgie (Georgia) Wilson keeping me on my toes – she’s getting closer and closer!”
About Breezer, with whom Lee also competes with success at Advanced Medium in able-bodied competition, he continued, “He pre-empted some of the transitions, so in training I’m going to work on making sure that he doesn’t take over. If selected (for the World Championships) I’m going to really focus on the walk. Breezer will have an easy week this week with some hacking, then we’ll pick up training again.”
London based Irish rider Michael Murphy (25) was on outstanding form to take the win in all three Grade I classes on mid-70% scores with 15-year-old Dutch gelding Cleverboy (Vivaldi x Kennedy) who he co-owns with Bronte Watson, Elder Klatzko and Sue and John Murphy. He also placed second in the Team and Individual tests with Dark Diamond, followed by Britain’s Gabriella Blake and her British-bred Connemara gelding, Strong Beau.
The British duo is enjoying a good 2022 with second places at Deauville and Keysoe internationals, and a double win at the Wellington Festival of Para Dressage a few weeks ago.
Nicola Naylor was on great form in the Grade IV with her two rides, Einagriz Horses SRL’s Humberto L (pictured above) and her own Del Piero. Nicola claimed the top two places on strong scores in both the Team and Individual Test, winning the former with Del Piero before taking a commanding lead in the Individual with Humberto L on a score of 72.658%, relegating stablemate ‘Pierre’ to the runner-up spot.
“Hartpury is probably one of my favourite shows and showgrounds,” commented Nicola. “The whole team there, including the stewards, are lovely, and everything about the show is consolidated – we are lucky to have it. I was delighted with both Humberto and Pierre. We’ve had a good run of shows and it’s nice that they both score well.”
On the final day of competition Nicola contested the Freestyle aboard Humberto L, with whom she is shortlisted for World Championships in Herning. “It was new music, produced by Ros Emery-Kay,” she explained. “It’s more powerful music now that he has developed as a horse. We had a small error on a double-marked movement – Humberto slipped in a flying change in the compulsory canter-trot-canter movement, but he still went well and we got some amazing comments from the judges.”
Marcelle Ward, with her De Niro x Royal Diamond mare, Dornroeschen (pictured above), performed consistently well in the Grade IV Team and Individual tests to take third spot on the podium both days. The freestyle on the final day of competition was incredibly close fought, with 0.05% dividing the top two. Marcelle had the winning edge, however, to dance to the win on 73.990%, with Nicola and Humberto L second on 73.940%, followed by Isobelle Palmer with Je Suis Adiva (71.350%) who completed the top three.
Natasha Baker and the 11-year-old Dimaggio mare Keystone Dawn Chorus (pictured above) secured a 72.353% win in the Grade III Team Test ahead of Ireland’s Kate Kerr-Horan and Serafina T (69.088%) and Great Britain’s Erin Orford and LJT Diamond Crusador (68.941%). Natasha sadly had to withdraw from the rest of the competition due to a chest infection, leaving the door open for Erin and ‘Loki’ who prevailed in both the Individual Test and Freestyle on scores of 69.265% and 71.260% respectively.
“I had a chest infection leading up to the competition and I thought I’d be OK, but I wasn’t,” explained Tokyo team gold and individual silver medallist, Natasha. “I had been well enough to do some training, but of course that is more controlled and I could take a rest when I needed to.
“Lottie (Keystone Dawn Chorus) was a superstar. I was there, but not in body and mind, but we know each other so well now and she carried me around… she was amazing. She is such a genuine horse and tries her hardest. That is all you can ask of a horse.”
Keystone Dawn Chorus, who Natasha co-owns with Joanna Jensen, Christian Landolt and Phil and Lorraine Baker remained at Hartpury for the duration of the CPEDI where Natasha’s trainer Lisa Hopkins made the most of the chance to give the mare that all-important training in a show environment. “Lottie’s becoming a bit of a pro – she is now so relaxed at a show and can often be found having a snooze in her stable!” smiled Natasha.
European and world medallist Erin (pictured above) took to social media to say, “Loki had a good week at Hartpury international with a win in the Individual test and again in the Freestyle dancing to our new music.
“Despite me feeling rough all week he looked after me and always puts a smile on your face. A massive thank you to Henrietta Cheetham and Lady Joseph Trust for letting me ride him, Sophie Wells for all her training, MKW Equine for grooming and Mum and Dad for helping and all the driving! A massive thank you as well to all my sponsors who make it all possible.”
1. Michael Murphy with Cleverboy, 75.322% (IRL)
2. Michael Murphy with Dark Diamond, 71.857% (IRL)
3. Gabriella Blake with Strong Beau, 70.357% (GBR)
1. Michael Murphy and Cleverboy, 75.107% (IRL)
2. Michael Murphy and Dark Diamond, 73.429% (IRL)
3. Gabriella Blake and Strong Beau, 72.357% (GBR)
1. Michael Murphy and Cleverboy, 74.894% (IRL)
2. Mari Durward-Akhurst and Quaikin Guaranteed Good, 71.540% (GBR)
3. Gabriella Blake and Strong Beau, 71.467% (GBR)
1. Lee Pearson with Breezer, 72.818% (GBR)
2. Georgia Wilson with Sakura, 72.303% (GBR)
3. Georgia Wilson with Midnight, 71.061% (GBR)
1. Lee Pearson and Breezer, 74.147% (GBR)
2. Georgia Wilson and Sakura, 73.647% (GBR)
3. Georgia Wilson with Midnight, 69.617% (GBR)
1. Lee Pearson and Breezer, 74.234% (GBR)
2. Georgia Wilson and Sakura, 74.200% (GBR)
3. Natasha Adkinson and Sweet Caledonia, 69.067% (GBR)
1. Natasha Baker and Keystone Dawn Chorus, 72.353% (GBR)
2. Kate Kerr-Horan and Serafina T, 69.088% (IRL)
3. Erin Orford and LJT Diamond Crusador, 68.941% (GBR)
1. Erin Orford and LJT Diamond Crusador, 69.265% (GBR)
2. Kate Kerr-Horan and Serafina T, 68.588% (IRL)
1. Erin Orford and LJT Diamond Crusador, 71.260% (GBR)
2. Kate Kerr-Horan and Serafina T, 70.127% (IRL)
1. Nicola Naylor and Del Piero, 70.425% (GBR)
2. Nicola Naylor and Humberto L, 69.475% (GBR)
3. Marcelle Ward with Dornroeshen, 67.875% (GBR)
1. Nicola Naylor and Humberto L, 72.658% (GBR)
2. Nicola Naylor and Del Piero, 71.049% (GBR)
3. Marcelle Ward and Dornroeschen, 70.415% (GBR)
1. Marcelle Ward and Dornroeschen, 73.990% (GBR)
2. Nicola Naylor and Humberto L, 73.940% (GBR)
3. Isobelle Palmer and Je Suis Adiva, 71.350% (GBR)
1. Sophie Wells with Don Cara M, 74.558% (GBR)
2. Sophie Wells with Jillz Geuzenhof, 71.465% (GBR)
3. Charlotte Cundall with FJ Veyron, 69.767% (GBR)
1. Sophie Wells and Don Cara M, 75.262% (GBR)
2. Sophie Wells and Jillz Geuzenhof, 71.333% (GBR)
3. Charlotte Cundall and FJ Veyron, 71.000% (GBR)
1. Sophie Wells and Don Cara M, 78.710% (GBR)
2. Charlotte Cundall and FJ Veyron, 73.930% (GBR)
3. Hope Hayward and Cadeau K, 71.620% (GBR)
Photo © Kevin Sparrow