Once again British dressage master Carl Hester put on a display of skill and horsemanship to win the CDI4* FEI International Grand Prix, supported by Horse & Hound, at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. It was a first ever freestyle for Carl and Barolo, a compact 11-year-old Hanoverian owned in partnership with Anne Seifert-Cohn and Charlotte Dujardin who has ridden him up through the levels.
The freestyle, to Charlotte and Valegro's first music 'How to train your Dragon', though not technically difficult was ridden with precision and fluency displaying particularly flowing half passes and changes, proving a unanimous choice of the ground jury with a score of 79.85%.
"He's a chilled horse and a quiet, soft lovely moving horse and didn't make any mistakes," said Carl. "He is so loose and elastic at times you feel like you are riding on a trampoline but he can really show his paces."
Carl was the last winner here in 2015 as last year had to be abandoned due to flooding in the lorry park. "It's great to be back again this year this is a truly amazing place to ride, there is no where else like it."
Hayley Watson-Greaves also loves competing at Windsor especially when gaining second place with Rubin's Nite (76.72%), a horse she found literally down the road from where she lived, as a two-year-old. The pair impressed with piaffe pirouettes and bold extended trots.
"I loved it, the atmosphere is just amazing out there and to come second to Carl is a great feeling, it doesn't get better than that," said Hayley whose programme is ridden to a specially composed piece of music.
Gareth Hughes and Don Carissimo (76.675%) gained another yellow rosette to add to the one they won in last night’s Grand Prix. It was a first ever freestyle for the combination and a first ever competitive visit to Windsor for Gareth.
"The wait to go in is definitely nerve-wracking but it is brilliant once you are in there," said Gareth whose programme was set to theme music from the film Australia. "Don was a bit nervous at the start but he is such a genuine horse and that was a really good confidence boosting ride for us and hopefully we'll be back next year."
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