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Charlotte Dujardin Claims Festive Freestyle Final and LeMieux Christmas Crown

Tuesday, December 22, 2020
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Charlotte Dujardin Claims Festive Freestyle Final and LeMieux Christmas Crown


Day two at the LeMieux National Grand Prix Championships was a Christmas cracker with Britain’s fifteen finest putting their best hooves forward for freestyle glory.
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First into the LeMieux arena, Becky Moody and Famke PF took an early lead and set the bar at an impressive height for the day’s competition. Clive Halsall, Stephen Clarke, Isobel Wessels, Sandy Phillips and Peter Storr rewarded the duo amply, who grooved to upbeat disco tunes, with 74.93%.

The first group of the day produced five strong performances. Dan Greenwood and Juliet Leighton’s Chevalier-O also opted for fun pop music earning 67.94%, with Nikki Barker and Durable showing a power packed routine to emphatic film music for 71.90%. Lisa Marriott and her own Valucio looked full of class with a light footed, elegant display to tunes from the Holiday and Spirit, they recorded 70.72%. Seasonal tunes were the order of the day for Nicola Buchanan who earned 72.72% for her festive freestyle on board Half Moon Dark Magic which included a Merry Christmas message from Queen Elizabeth to introduce the first halt salute.

Charlotte Dujardin saw the second group to go start in style with the pint sized Gio defying his size to rise to a magnanimous 88.05%. Their test to Valegro’s famed How to Train Your Dragon programme was packed with explosive flying changes, immaculate pirouettes and powerful piaffe/passage work.

With Ursula Bechtolsheimer’s evergreen performer Rubin Al Asad, Lara Butler rode to 79.68% for an eventual sixth place. Dancing to her Dire Straights freestyle, the experienced pair showed highlights in technical combinations with superb tempi changes on curved lines and extended canter into piaffe on the centre line in front of Isobel Wessels, our judge at C for the day. Lara looked suitably thrilled on her concluding halt salute rewarding ‘Rufus’ with plenty of praise and herself earning a cheer from the small group of ringside supporters and staff.

Another strong quintet of performances in this section saw a cinematic performance from Hayley Watson-Greaves and WG Rubins Nite. With plenty of highlights and a couple of small spooks from a characterful ‘Squeaks’, the score for this popular pair was 76.03%. Amy Woodhead presented Emma Blundell’s dainty and delightful Mount St John Kom Fairytale to well suited music and the pair earned 74.78%. Kate Cowell concluded the second group on X, with the X based rider opting for instrumental pop music including Fight Song and Amazing Grace for Audrey Laurence and Chris Richards’ Samba Dancer.

As first to go in our final group of the day, Emile Faurie posted a strong 78.73% with his 2018 WEG partner Dono Di Maggio, owned by Theodora Livanos. Their experience showed and a polished performance earned praise post-test from commentator Matt Frost who enjoyed the powerful, moving musical choices.

To see the full story visit British Dressage