May 14th, 2015 - 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 favorite Team GBR’s Carl Hester.
Dressage: Carl Hester on Top Form
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.
Driving: Chester Weber Leads the Landrover International Driving Grand Prix
Twenty-six horse four-in-hand competitors from ten nations took part in the dressage phase of the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix. Three of the top four steered smoothly through driving rain, keeping focus to record highly competitive scores.
In top spot is 2014 winner, Chester Weber from the USA, driving the team of warmblood bays he drove last year. In second place is the reining indoor and outdoor world champion, Boyd Exell from Australia, who has claimed several previous titles here at Royal Windsor. Hot on his heels, comes Netherlands’ most successful driver, Ijsbrand Chardon, who has more championships and world titles to his name than any other driver.
Less than 1-5-penalties separate first to third placings which will make for breath-holding competition in Saturday’s cross-country marathon. President of the Jury, Andrew Counsell, remarked, “There was little to choose between the top three - it was just a matter of loss of rhythm or a slight lack of suppleness here and there. They will have everything to play for on Saturday which will make an exciting day for spectators.”
Show Jumping: International Show Jumping in a Unique Setting
Britain’s Jordan Marshall, 17, claimed her first senior international win at Royal Windsor Horse Show riding Unique in the CSI1* Thames Speed Stakes. Inclement weather didn’t affect the mood of the competitive field, of which seven remained faultless.
The former successful pony rider was drawn late to go in the speed contest and finished with a huge four-second advantage over late-charging runner-up MacKenzie Ray (Audrey) and the former leader Emily Moffitt (Ferox B) of the USA.
Moffitt had better fortunes in the following St George Two-Phase, riding HHS Fafa. With the advantage of final draw, Emily snatched the lead from British long-time leader Sophie Tobin (Quite Cadiz).
The USA’s former Olympic gold medallist Laura Kraut and Thalis de la Rougue claimed their second national show jumping win of the week in the Land Rover Grades B and C Handicap. Meanwhile, Britain’s Mavis Spencer and Marchello, took the Olympic Star Spotters top prize, and her fellow countryman Max Routledge (Carus Royale) claimed the Grades A and B Jumping Competition.
Showing: Day of Doubles
For the second year running, Colchester-based breeder Lisha Leeman landed the in-hand coloured championship. Last year Kellythorpes Master Key took the hotly-contested title and this year’s star, also a two-year-old, was Kellythorpes Kinky Boots. The Showing section’s furthest-travelled competitor, John O’Groats-based Russell Skelton took reserve with his two-year-old, Freckleton Unbelievable.
Across in the working hunter ring, Oxfordshire-based Libby Cooke took the overall title for the second year running with Douglas Reid-Scott’s victorious heavyweight, Harley Foxtrot.
The highly anticipated CSI3* Bahrain Pearl Stakes takes place in the Castle Arena at the start of the afternoon session, which is set to be an exciting competition. 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.
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