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Brits shine at soggy Saumur

last updated on May 12, 2015 10:35

Brits shine at soggy Saumur

It was a damp affair at the busy Saumur CDI but some bright performances from British riders lifted the spirits. The facilities at the Cadre Noir felt the full force of Mother Nature in full spring flight but despite the rain, and a few classes moving inside, the show ran brilliantly.

In the senior big tour CDI, one combination was the talk of the competition; Fiona Bigwood and her own Atterupgaards Orthilia. They headed the grand prix with a score just below 75%, with two judges awarding them over 76%. The elegant Gribaldi 10 year old is Fiona’s main competition ride at present as she has full faith in ‘Tilly’ following her nasty fall last year. The duo impressed everyone with their light, harmonious way of going in only their third test at this level together. The mare has oodles of power and lots more to come. Sadly, a knock before the Special forced their withdrawal but Fiona reports that a scan showed nothing significant.

Also taking part were World Class Development Squad members Hayley Watson-Greaves and Rubins Night (pictured), or Squeak to his friends. They were 12th on 67.7% in the grand prix with what Hayley described as ‘a few mistakes, one major’. They opted for the freestyle and really put their all into it for a fourth place finish on 69.575%. Hayley said on Facebook; “He danced his socks off! We were placed fourth with 69.5% - unfortunately just too many mistakes for over 70%. But he was fab!”

The final member of the big tour trio was Alice Oppenheimer with mum Sarah’s Headmore Delegate, with whom she’s been riding grand prix for three years. By Dimaggio, ‘Del’ was back in action after a successful trip to Vidauban in March where he finished in the top seven in all grand prix level starts. They were 16th with 67.06% in the grand prix. Alice felt he was a bit nervous following a last minute change to the indoor arena due to the weather. They opted for the special and Alice was looking for ‘a soft, relaxed test’ and that’s what she got, taking to Facebook to say; “He was fantastic. We had quite a few mistakes but he really listened and tried for me. I'm so thrilled with his attitude and to still come out with 67.4% with all the mistakes is really exciting!!! Good boy!!!!”

Alice also took her rising star, British-bred Tantoni Sir Soccrates to contest the small tour classes. The in-form pair again didn’t disappoint with two seconds and a fourth. The Georgina Pole-Carew bred and owned Sir Donnerhall eight year old is still relatively green at this level but his scores are certainly heading in the right direction. In the prix st georges they were just over 1% behind the winners on 70.5%; a great score despite Alice saying she rode ‘a very safe, underpowered test as the arena had cut up in the rain’. In the Inter I, she took advantage of the arena move to indoors and ‘went for it’ but sadly paid a heavy price for some mistakes but some equally fantastic work gave them 67.737%, enough for fourth and a place in the freestyle. It was their Inter I dancing debut and, ever eager to please, ‘Soccs’ didn’t disappoint! In a buzzy atmosphere, the duo produced a stunning 72.7% for runners up spot – 0.9% behind the winner. One judge had them to win on 77.5% and Alice said a number of spectators commented on how much they’d enjoyed the performance!

Paralympian Sophie Wells was the sole representative in the u25 classes with her ‘veteran’ partner Pinocchio, owned by Jackie Walker. Sophie and ‘Noki’ have been through a lot in their six years together…European, World and Paralympic championships, able-bodied young rider European championships and a journey to grand prix. It was Inter II for them first in a small, but strong field. A score of 64.921% left Sophie pleased, saying there were a few mistakes and a stumble before the second piaffe. In the grand prix, they scored just over 65%. Sophie was clearly proud of her partner; “Such a good boy. Noki tried so hard today, mistakes in my tempis but 65% at GP internationally, I am very happy with. Got some very positive marks and comments - all going in the right direction!” she said on Facebook.


The trip to Saumur proved valuable for the next generation too, as Britain’s younger riders achieved great results in the under-21s divisions.

The pony team, consisting of Clare Hole with Rembrandt DDH, Rebecca Bell with Valido’s Sunshine, Angus Corrie-Deane with Grayswood Orlando and Lara Kuropatwa with Mister Snowman, achieved silver in the CDIOP (Pony Nations Cup). The quartet scored a team total of 4081, behind Germany on 4144 and ahead of third-placed Belgium on 4052.5.

Angus and Orlando were first to go when the heavens opened. Still, the adverse weather was not enough to put the pathfinders off their stride. The Wiltshire-based 15-year-old piloted Orlando, a 14-year-old Welsh part-bred to an international personal best of 68.077%. Lara Kuropatwa (14), also from Wiltshire, and German-bred ‘Snowy’ were next to go, scoring a solid 66.462%. Clare Hole (13) and ‘Remy’ followed later with a super test for 71.333% putting Great Britain, for a time, in gold medal position.

By the time Rebecca Bell and ‘Sunny’ entered the arena, the rain had almost stopped. The pair performed a strong test for 69.872% and an individual rank of fifth. The Brits were on tenterhooks as the final German combination of Nadine Krause and Cyrill WE entered the arena. Nadine produced a superb test for 74.487%, taking the German team into the lead and relegating the Brits to an admirable silver.

“I’m so unbelievably proud of my team mates,” said Rebecca Bell via Facebook. “We put up a strong fight and we were only just pipped to the post by an ever-consistent German team. Everyone did a fantastic job and the efforts of Team GB certainly made this rainy day brighter!”

Clare Hole and Rembrandt went on to stamp their authority in the CDIO Individual Test with 73.220% for second place behind Nadine Krause and Cyrill WE for Germany. Rebecca Bell and Sunny, placed fifth with 70.293%. Both girls, and Angus, qualified through for Sunday’s freestyle. Rebecca and Sunny secured a podium finish with 73.825% for third, Clare and Rembrandt were hot on their heels in fourth with 72.600%, and Angus and Orlando took 14th with 67.350%.

Four British combinations represented their nation in the Pony CDI classes: Ottilie Bardsley with Dublin, Rebecca Bell with Valido’s Starlight, Angus Corrie-Deane with Hagelkruis Valentijn and Ruth Hole with Bernwode Brokat. Rebecca and ‘Star’ earned third place in the Pony Team Test with 68.513%, Ottilie and Dublin gained an international personal best of 68.231% for fifth, Ruth and ‘Woody’ scored 67.949% for seventh and Angus and ‘Val’ came a respectable twelfth with 66.641%.

In Saturday’s Pony Individual Test, Rebecca, Ruth and Ottilie filled eighth, ninth and tenth respectively, qualifying them for Sunday’s freestyle. In this finale, Ottilie and Dublin were best of the Brits in ninth with 70.025%, Rebecca and Star were just behind on 69.475% and Ruth and Woody took twelfth with 67.875%.

Five British pairings contested the Junior Divisions. In the CDIOJ (Junior Nations Cup), Chloe Vell with Kaja Di Valentina, Charlotte Dicker with Sabatini, Erin Williams with Waverly and Ruth Hole with Winnetou G.E.P. flew the flag, securing team bronze for Great Britain. They scored a team total of 3706.5, a hair’s breadth behind second-placed Switzerland. Belgium took top honours with a team score of 3789.

Erin and Chloe produced strong performances in the Junior Individual Test with 67.974% and 67.842% respectively. They took fourth and fifth spots, qualifying them for the freestyle where both rode their socks off to be awarded 72% and 71.575% for third and fourth.

In the Junior CDI classes both British representatives showed great promise. Erin Williams with new ride Bolsan B and Rose Hugh-Smith with Florentino were placed fourth and fifth respectively in the Team Test, tenth and sixth respectively in the Individual Test and sixth and ninth in the competitive freestyle.

Just two young riders made the trip to France but both made their mark on the CDIYR. In the team test, 21 year old Anna Lawson was fourth with her own Swedish-bred Bryan II with 66.526%, just 1% off the winner. The duo only came together last year but is building a partnership quickly. Just two places behind were World Class Development rider Rebecca Edwards and Ufano on 66.158%. Owned by Dr Margaret Cox, Ufano is a Lutsitano stallion and has been partnered by Becky since 2012. In the individual, it was Becky and ‘Uffy’ who shone to finish in runners up spot, exactly 1% behind the winner on 69.158%, one of their best scores for this test. Anna and Bryan were sixth on 67.211%. On freestyle day, sadly Anna withdrew Bryan but Becky was just shy of 70% with Ufano for fourth, a great performance to add to their case for a European Championship place.

Full results – click here