The wet weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the spectators today at Royal Windsor Horse Show who were treated to an array of displays, including a winning performance from Olympic team gold medalist and Show favourite Team GBR’s Carl Hester. Carl Hester and Nip Tuck members of the British silver medal team at the World Equestrian Games last year, led from the front to win the international grand prix at Royal Windsor Horse Show. It was the third international win for the pair this year, albeit their score fell just half a percent short of their personal best scored in Barcelona in March.
“It felt like a personal best to me,” said Carl who owns the Dutch-bred gelding with Jane de la Mare. “I think that is the best he’s ever gone. Last year here he felt so green and this year he felt like a really experienced horse.”
The pair are now aiming for this year’s British team for the European Championships to be held in Aachen, Germany. “I was hoping that the ‘up and comings’ might get a go – we are getting more depth and riders available as tonight showed but I will be available if they need me” said Carl who trained almost half of the 12 strong class.
His pupil Fiona Bigwood came closest with her Danish-bred mare Atterupgaards Orthilia who ably demonstrated great natural lift in piaffe and passage. Fiona acquired the mare 18 months ago then last April suffered a serious fall that left her out of the saddle for six months.
“I had to put all the horses on the back-burner,” said Fiona who too was just short of a PB with the mare. Orthilia however was the first horse she got back on after her accident.
“She is the kindest horse ever – I love riding her and love her to bits,” said Fiona who is also aiming for a place on the team this year having won team silver at the WEG in 2010.
“My main goal is to try for a place for Rio next year but to be honest I take every show as it comes” she said.
Dutch rider Katja Gevers and her 15-year-old gelding Thriller took third place with their best score so far this year while British rider Alice Oppenheimer and Headmore Delegate, took fourth with a score just short of 70%.
“I would have liked to have made the 70% but he was a good boy and the spotlights do make it quite a spooky arena,” said Alice who trains the British-bred Delegate with Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin.
Packed stands are expected tomorrow night not only for the grand prix freestyle to music but also a rare chance to see a dressage Masterclass before the class with Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin.
Great Britain's Carl Hester returns to compete in the CDI3* International Freestyle Grand Prix competition taking place at 18:30 in the Castle Arena.
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.rwhs.co.uk%20
Royal Windsor Horse Show takes place on 13-17 May 2015. Over 50,000 visitors are expected to attend the 72nd year of the Royal Windsor Horse Show which offers its audience astounding displays in the main Castle Arena, such as The Musical Ride from the Household Calvary and The King’s Troop Musical Drive, the DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games and The Shetland Pony Grand National. As well as the equestrian competitions and activities, there are over 230 shops in the Shopping Village, with a wide range of goods for sale, from jewellery and fashion, to food and drink. HM The Queen has attended every year since it started in 1943 and it is the only time of the year that the private grounds of Windsor Castle are open to the public. Royal Windsor Horse Show is organised by HPower Group, also organisers of Olympia, The London International Horse Show www.hpower.co.uk