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LeMieux National Dressage Championships: DAY FOUR

last updated on September 22, 2014 09:17

LeMieux National Dressage Championships: DAY FOUR

Michael Eilberg was crowned LeMieux National Champion today after winning the Horse Health Grand Prix Freestyle with a personal best score of 75.90%.

Michael and the 14-year-old Latvian gelding – owned by Ferdi Eilberg – danced their way to victory using music from the film, Transformers. Following the withdrawal of Dances With Wolves, the duo went into the freestyle in pole position after coming second in Saturday’s LeMieux Grand Prix.

Despite battling a chest bug during the week, Michael and Marakov – or Marco as he’s known by his friends – beat 2013 National Champions Carl Hester and Jenny Green’s Fine Time 13, who scored 74.53%. The win marks Michael’s first British National Champion title, which is quite apt as Marco was the first horse to take Michael to grand prix.

“It’s incredibly special to win it with him,” gushed Michael. “I said to dad that with the cold and everything I had to be careful that I didn’t get too emotional. It means everything, especially for all of us - not just me. It’s been a team effort with this horse. We’ve had him right from a baby, everybody’s contributed and to have something like this come off, it makes everything worthwhile.”

Speaking about the music, Michael stated: “It’s lovely music which really suits him. I produced the programme with Tom Hunt, I did the floor plan and he did the music to it. It’s quite mystical and he’s a very majestic horse, so it’s a perfect fit. Today everything just worked; we were on the beat throughout and I didn’t feel I had to catch up anywhere. I could relax and just let it flow.”

And how’s the 2014 LeMieux National Champion going to celebrate? “With a lemsip!” he joked.

Becky Moody and Carinsio defied the odds by taking the Suregrow Advanced Medium title with an impressive 73.71%.

Michael Eilberg and Elena Knyaginichev’s eight-year-old De Niro stallion, who – until today – were unbeaten at advanced medium, were odds on favourites to win the class; however Becky and the seven-year-old Painted Black gelding, owned by Anne & Patrick Moody and Julie Lockey, stepped it up a notch to beat the flashy stallion by 0.32%.

Speaking about the win, Becky joked: “It was good not to be looking at Michael’s bum for a change – as good as it might be!”

“Carinsio – or ‘Jack’ as he’s known at home was trickier to ride today than in the PSG. He was hotter, a little tense and more on edge,” she continued. “The trot work was very easy and fluent but the walk is where the tension creeps in as he then has more opportunity to take in the surroundings.

“He’ll now have a bit of chill time before working towards small tour, and maybe a couple of internationals next year - but the long-term aim is GP; he doesn’t have any weaknesses and finds the collected work easy!”

Essex-based rider Jessica Thompson, 24, sealed an impressive victory on the final day of the LeMieux National Dressage Championships, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.

Essex-based rider Jessica Thompson, 24, sealed an impressive victory riding Athene Lindebjerg, Diane Redfern’s seven-year-old daughter of Gribaldi to score 72.69% in a high class Equilibrium Products Elementary Open Championship.

“It’s mind-blowing, a dream-come-true,” beamed Jessica, who works as a rider and head girl for Michel and Mette Assouline.

Athene Lindebjerg was sourced by Mette Assouline as a future ride for Para dressage star Sophie Christiansen. With a walk to die for, supermodel looks and a mind to match, the mare looks the every inch the part.

“She scores 9s for her walk,” said Jessica. “She can be really operating in trot and canter, then the minute she walks, she goes and relaxes.”

Jessica took up a post with the Assouline’s three years ago after finishing her degree. “I heard about the vacancy through my then trainer Ulrik Molgaard who’s a friend of Mette’s. From there I applied, went, and she offered me a job as a groom. Since then, I’ve built up to riding lots of horses. Mette and Michelle have given me such a head start. The trust and training they’ve put in to me is amazing.”

Jessica is training the Danish-bred mare with Michel and Mette, and has competed her at some major venues as an introduction to the big wide world. “She’s been very straightforward to train. You just ask a question and she gives an answer. It might not necessarily be the right answer, but she always tries. I never have to persuade her. She’s a very nice woman with no mare traits; and very supple in the back.

“Sophie has sat on her and loves her. The horse is a complete diamond and the full package - we all adore her.”

Athene Lindebjerg was sourced by Mette Assouline as a future ride for Para dressage star Sophie Christiansen. With a walk to die for, supermodel looks and a mind to match, the mare looks the every inch the part.

“She scores 9s for her walk,” said Jessica. “She can be really operating in trot and canter, then the minute she walks, she goes and relaxes.”

Jessica took up a post with the Assouline’s three years ago after finishing her degree. “I heard about the vacancy through my then trainer Ulrik Molgaard who’s a friend of Mette’s. From there I applied, went, and she offered me a job as a groom. Since then, I’ve built up to riding lots of horses. Mette and Michelle have given me such a head start. The trust and training they’ve put in to me is amazing.”

Jessica is training the Danish-bred mare with Michel and Mette, and has competed her at some major venues as an introduction to the big wide world. “She’s been very straightforward to train. You just ask a question and she gives an answer. It might not necessarily be the right answer, but she always tries. I never have to persuade her. She’s a very nice woman with no mare traits; and very supple in the back.

“Sophie has sat on her and loves her. The horse is a complete diamond and the full package - we all adore her.”

It was an extremely tense affair in the finale of the Shearwater Potential International Dressage Horse. In the four year olds, the accolade of champion went to FJ Veyron (Vivaldi x Fidermark) ridden by Garry Williams with Charlotte Dujardin in runners up spot with Mount St John Best of All (Bordeaux x Sir Donnerhall). The five year title went to River Rise Escarla (Lord Leatherdale x Ferro) with Exige M (Samarant x Jazz) second under Dan Greenwood.

These four then came forward for the supreme championship under judges Mariette Sanders and Raphael Saleh with Daniel Sherriff acting as the ridden judge. All four horses were immaculately behaved throughout but with commentary from Mariette, it was obvious that they were also four very different prospects. FJ Veyron, owned by F James, is a big rangey type, full of power while MSJ Best of All is a petite dainty mare. F James’s River Rise Escarla is your archetypical dressage model with presence and Exige M, owned by Jenny Welham, is again petite but with a sporty frame.

Dan Sherriff had made a plan with the judges with what they’d evaluate with each horse and he masterfully put each youngster through its paces. He found positives in each one but his final ride was the steel grey Exige M and you could see the a wave of delight come over Dan with every step, confessing at the end ‘I don’t want to get off’.

The judges went into their final huddle and the tension built until silence fell over the crowd…and Dan and Exige were pulled out as Champions much to the delight of the crowd as he did 12 months ago.

A truly delighted Dan told us a bit about Exige M; “He’s by Samarant out of a Jazz mare and he’s got the best attributes of both. He’s got the engine and the go of Jazz but then the ease and rideability of Samarant. He’s an absolute joy. If you see him stood, he’s not that special but when he’s going it’s a completely different story.

“His owner showed me a video of a horse she wanted to buy aged three. I said it was okay but thought we could do better and it had a poor hind leg. She ignored me and it now has a fabulous hind leg! But what do I know!”

And the future for Exige M; “His owner Jenny rides him along with me. She’s qualified him for the Novice Winter regionals and hoping to qualify at elementary and in turn the six year olds for next year.”
 

 



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