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Hartpury PL: A showcase for top horses and pony power

last updated on July 28, 2017 11:37

Hartpury PL: A showcase for top horses and pony power

Alongside the CDI and CPEDI, four days of national competition took place at the Hartpury Festival of Dressage in Gloucestershire (5 – 9 July 2017), bringing the curtain down on the 2017 Premier League season.

Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Kom Fairytale (pictured with owner Emma Blundell) scored a double, winning both the Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Section A and the Zamar Intermediate I Section B, scoring 75.61% and 74.04% respectively. Kom Fairytale, now 11, was bought by the Mount St John Stud as a nine-year-old as a future horse for Charlotte. Born in Finland, the talented chestnut produced a foal as a young mare before starting her ridden career.

These achievements were all the more remarkable being only the combination’s fifth competition together, and the Fürst Heinrich x Weltmeyer mare’s Inter I debut.

Sunday’s Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges also belonged to Charlotte, this time with her 2017 Charles Owen Advanced Medium Gold runner-up, En Vogue. The tall, Jazz eight-year-old has proved challenging to train, ‘he just threw himself on the floor when it came to teaching him changes’, but Charlotte’s faith in him is being repaid and he’s looks very much a budding Grand Prix horse.

En Vogue also played a starring role in the previous night’s gala evening performance. He achieved a fabulous second place in the Elite Stallions Young Horse Prix St Georges with his 72.98% performance, though it was with stablemate Mount St John Freestyle that Charlotte raised the roof. The eight-year-old Fidermark mare and her rider, who are reigning Equine Construction Advanced Medium Gold Champions, blew the judges away with their 82.19%-winning performance.

“She [Mount St John Freestyle] has a heart of gold,” Charlotte said, speaking to judge Isobel Wessels immediately after her test. “She is unbelievable, no matter what atmosphere she’s in, and isn’t afraid of anything – nothing bothers her.

“Next year I really hope to have her for the World Equestrian Games. She’s only eight but she just shows such huge talent. I feel very lucky to have a horse like this to follow on from what I had with Valegro. It’s all so natural for her, she’s a really special horse.”

Leading rider Matt Frost kept his cool in the heat of a sun-drenched Hartpury to take victory in Wednesday’s Baileys Horse Feeds Intermediate II. He impressed aboard Dedi Leech’s AMD Don Rosso II, a 12-year-old by Dr Doolittle, to earn a score of 68.03%.

Matt’s victory relegated Maria Eilberg and Sarotti to the runners-up spot, though Maria’s show ended on a high as she took Sunday’s Monarch Equestrian Inter II with Hermione Black and Penny Pollard’s Royal Concert. Maria and ‘Rico’ were unanimous winners achieving a score average of 71.89% from judges Judy Harvey (GBR), Henning Lehrman (GER) and Elke Ebert (GER).

Pony power was in the spotlight on Sunday for the finals of the British Dressage Young Pony Championships. This championship seeks to identify the pony stars of the future as well as provide valuable competition exposure for these equine youngsters.

Indoors, in the Hartpury Arena, these up-and-coming ponies performed their respective tests – the BD Young Horse Novice Test for four-year-olds, the BD Young Horse Elementary Test for five-year-olds or the BD Young Horse Medium Test for six-year-olds. Each pony was then awarded marks for the paces, way of going and general impression. 

FEI3* Judge Peter Storr and List 1 Judge Trish Gardiner presided over the four-year-olds. Four ponies contested the final and the title was awarded to Jennifer Manning’s Sports Pony Studbook Society (SPSS) graded and premium licensed pony stallion Chartstürmer WE (pictured top right), a son of Caramel FH out of an FS Golden Highlight mare. Ridden by Jennifer the good-looking German bred chestnut, who stands at stud in the UK, was awarded with a fabulous score of 7.72. 'Charti', as he's known, has started his competitive career with BD at Prelim level and remains unbeaten in all his outings so far.

The five and six-year-old categories were also assessed by Trish Gardiner, this time joined by FEI4* Judge, Judy Harvey. The five-year-old category was headed by another SPSS graded breeding stallion, the Bromson Stud’s Woodlander Sir Gorgeous (pictured right) who has been produced by Charlotte Drakeley with help from Henry Boswell. ‘Riley’ as he’s known, was bred by Lynne Crowden at the Woodlander Stud, by Woodlander Santana out the SPSS graded Welsh Section C mare, Synod Galina (by Synod Rum Punch). Gorgeous by name, gorgeous by nature, he was scored an impressive 8.40.

Sophie Taylor (14) who’s been selected for the Pony European Championships with Madam’s Miss Maria, rode her SPSS registered gelding, George Clooney BS (pictured below), to victory in the six-year-old category. Bred by Julie Lockey, the attractive grey by pony dressage legend Caesar 171, was given a super 7.94 to edge ahead of Lili Laughton with Alicia Laughton’s Armada Magic Cadillac.

“I honestly couldn't be happier with George today winning the 6yr old Pony Championship at Hartpury Premier League,” said Sophie on her Facebook page, clearly thrilled. “He has been a star from start to finish taking the show atmosphere and competing all in his stride. A big thank you to everyone that has helped get him this far over the last two years. Julie Lockey who bred him and the Godrics Stud who own his mega daddy Caesar 171. Rachel for all your support and keeping mum calm!

“Also, I have to say a very big thank you Izzy Lickley Dressage for lending me her Fairfax bridle. Home now so he can have some down time whilst I get Dot [Madam’s Miss Maria] ready to go to Pre European Camp. Secretly I think Dot will be proud of her annoying neighbour!”

The winners:-

Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Section A
Kate Smith with De La Veiga, 72.59%

Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges Section B
Charlotte Dujardin with Mount St John Kom Fairytale, 75.61%

Baileys Horse Feeds Intermediate II
Matt Frost with AMD Don Rosso II, 68.03%

NAF Five Star Recover Advanced Medium 92
Vikki Pengilly with Zion E, 67.43%

Shadow Horse Advanced Medium 98
Charlotte Dujardin with Ekitof, 74.30%

Zamar Intermediate I Section A
Sadie Smith with Keystone Dynamite, 72.06%

Zamar Intermediate I Section B
Charlotte Dujardin with Mount St John Kom Fairytale, 74.04%

LeMieux Grand Prix
Sara Gallop with Summerhouse Zelham, 68.44%

Lovington Ice Advanced 105
Dylan Deutrom with El Zorro, 67.50%

JS Team Wear Advanced Medium 98
Kate Cowell with Dramatic Conquest, 76.05%

Elite Stallions Young Horse Prix St Georges Championship
Charlotte Dujardin with Mount St John Freestyle, 82.19%

Dawson Memorial FEI Pony/Junior/Young Rider Team Test
Charlotte McDowall with BKS Grand Design, 69.29%

Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges
Charlotte Dujardin with En Vogue, 74.96%

Monarch Equestrian Intermediate II
Maria Eilberg with Royal Concert, 71.89%

Hickstead National Young Horse 5YO Qualifier
Ashley Jenkins with His Highness, 7.82

Hickstead International Young Horse 5YO Qualifier
Nick Lawson with Fandango V, 6.98

Hickstead National Young Horse 6YO Qualifier
Rebecca Hughes with Classic Goldstrike, 7.84

Hickstead International Young Horse 6YO Qualifier
Sophie Wells with Gladstone, 7.1

British Dressage Young Pony Final - 4YO
Jennifer Manning with Chartstürmer WE, 7.72

British Dressage Young Pony Final – 5YO
Charlotte Drakeley with Woodlander Sir Gorgeous, 8.40

British Dressage Young Pony Final – 6YO
Sophie Taylor with George Clooney BS, 7.94

For full results see the show website.

Photo credit (Dressage Pony Championship): Sports Pony Studbook Society.