Second spot for Britain at Hickstead CDIO
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The 2018 series of the FEI Nations Cup reached its climax with the last day of the Hickstead CDIO. The final leg may have featured just four teams but the competition has been close throughout and it was France who ended on top.
After days of sweltering heat, today the weather broke in Sussex and it was back with a bang to more typical British conditions for the final freestyle action. French rider Pierre Volla scored his second win of the show with his precious mare Badinda Altena with 76.32% in atrocious conditions but the little horse he saved from the slaughterhouse tried her heart out. Hayley Watson Greaves was again the British Nations Cup lynchpin with ever reliable Rubins Nite and their 74.57% gave them second individually but also was valuable for the team as Vicky Thompson Winfield had a tough time with the stallion Mango Jacaro as the weather and blowy arena were not to his liking but they ended with a more than respectable 68.52%. Third spot went to Miguel Ralao Duarte on the stunning grey Xenofnte D’atela with 71.7%.
So when the final calculations had been done, it was France on 26, GB 30 level with Portugal but the home side edged it by virtue of a better Grand Prix performance with Sweden in fourth on 37. They may have finished last here, but their consistency through the season gave them the overall winner’s title for the Longines FEI Nations Cup series for the second year in a row.
The bad weather continued for the CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle and there was an upset when red hot favourite Richard Davison retired Bubblingh three quarters of the way through his test as he couldn’t hear his music amid the rain and wind. This opened the door for Marie Emilie Bretenoux to enter and take the class for France with Quartz of Jazz with 72.95%. Matt Frost and AMD Don Rosso II were runners up to make it a good week for the duo; “He coped really, really well. I had a couple of mistakes in my one time changes where he lost balance but I’m really pleased,” Matt said. “He definitely preferred the weather today than the heat of the last few days too!” he added. They’re now focusing on making a challenge at the LeMieux National Championships before heading to a few more CDIs later in the year. Third was Alex Hardwick with Royal Chester with 69.7%.
The difficulty level raised for the CDIu25 riders on their final day as it was Grand Prix time and Claire Gallimore was once again the winner with Annette Ballerina. They posted 67.07% which again will give them confidence ahead of their trip to Exloo for the European Championships. Amy Schiessl was second with beautifully marked skewbald Mr Mercury with 66.38. Lucy Pincus finished third and fourth with her home bred horses, Sheepcote Fiesta and Sheepcote Doncalisto on 65.61% and 65.56 respectively, the latter also off to Exloo on the British team.
Lucy Jane Amy (20) made up for missing out on a place in the Team NAF Young Rider squad by dominating the CDIYR at Hickstead and secured her hat-trick of victories in today’s freestyle. She had to battle gusty winds but was spared the rain as her test fell between showers but it was certainly an eventful performance with ‘arena malfunctions’ on three occasions. Fallen speakers and wayward dressage boards did little to disturb her partner Full Time as the duo pressed on despite the conditions to score 73.06% and win by nearly three percent. Lucy, originally from Jersey but now based with Richard Barratt, said; “He was so well behaved in there; absolutely amazing. Any other horse wouldn’t have coped with what he had to! He was really relaxed considering the conditions and actually felt the best of all his tests today.”
Lucy has had ‘Hughie’ since he was just a yearling so knows him inside and out. “I know him so well and he’s really smart…sometimes a little too smart!” The combination are now back to base to train ahead of the LeMieux Nationals in September.
It was a hat-trick too for Germany in the Junior ranks as Hentriette Schmidt claimed today’s finale freestyle with a great 74.67% in tricky conditions with Rocky’s Sunshine. A consistent week for Britain’s Emma Bond ended with second spot with Lime Walk on 74.67% while compatriot Jessica Sanderson took third on 70.21% with Wanour S.