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Carl Hester: The opportunities at home equal the best in Europe *H&H VIP*


Mandatory Credit: Photo by ddp USA/REX/Shutterstock (5829497y) Carl Hester (GBR) rides Nip Tuck during dressage individual grand prix freestyle competition Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Equestrian, Olympic Equestrian Centre, Brazil - 15 Aug 2016
Horse & Hound's dressage columnist on choosing to compete in the UK and sad news for the sport
Posted: 18/06/2018
Royal Ascot racegoers to face breathalysers and sniffer dogs
The Ascot Stands, and the Band before racing 18-6-16
The racecourse is being proactive as part of crackdown on unruly behaviour following a major brawl at its meeting in May
Posted: 18/06/2018
‘She has her own style… and a massive heart’: home-bred mare wins Bolesworth grand prix
Paul Kennedy riding Cartown Danger Mouse winners of the CSI4* Grand Prix (Class 52) in the International showjumping competition during the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show at Bolesworth Castle near Chester in Cheshire in the UK on 17th June 2018
The winning partnership had already scored a brilliant four-star victory at the show earlier in the week
Posted: 17/06/2018
Team Belgium reigns supreme in hard-fought battle at Sopot

by Louise Parkes



Team Belgium won the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Poland today, but it was no walk in the park. This fourth leg of the Europe Division 1 series attracted teams from eight countries to the Hippodrome Arena in the popular seaside town of Sopot, and with six of those chasing down qualifying points for the Longines Final in Barcelona (ESP) in October it was always going to be a right royal battle. 

Posted: 17/06/2018
Holding a straight line across country — the difference between success and failure

Caroline Moore, former four-star eventer and British Eventing national under-18 coach and junior team coach, explains how to teach a horse to hold a line over and in between fences

Caroline Moore, former four-star eventer and British Eventing national under-18 coach and junior team coach, explains how to teach a horse to hold a line over and in between fences
Posted: 17/06/2018
Jonelle Price wins Luhmühlen CCI4*: Brits take next four places
Jonelle Price riding Faerie Dianamo to win Luhmuhlen CCI4*
It’s a second CCI4* triumph for Jonelle Price as the New Zealand rider follows up Badminton victory with success in Luhmühlen
Posted: 17/06/2018
When The Queen called ITV Racing reporter Oli Bell a ‘lunatic’…

The ITV Racing reporter Oli Bell tells H&H about his run-in with The Queen following an emotional win at last year’s Royal Ascot

Oli bell celebrates as his uncle's horse Big Orange wins The Gold Cup (Group 1) (British Champions Series) Royal Ascot 22/6/2017 ©cranhamphoto.com
The ITV Racing reporter Oli Bell tells H&H about his run-in with The Queen following an emotional win at last year’s Royal Ascot
Posted: 17/06/2018
Owners ‘signed the death warrants’ of wounded mares dumped on Bodmin Moor
‘They are nicely-bred horses and clearly, at one time, somebody loved them — but not any more’
Posted: 17/06/2018
Own your own stud with solariums, a salt water spa and cross-country course
Head over heels for Headley?
Posted: 17/06/2018
Rebecca Penny: Second-placed riders can be disrespectful and defeatist *H&H VIP


Horse & Hound's showing columnist asks why second-placed riders abandon championships
Posted: 17/06/2018
Eight-year-old qualifies his mini Unicorn for Royal International
Noah and Polaris Unicorn
Noah and Polaris Unicorn.
The boy has qualified his Welsh section A for three classes at the prestigious show
Posted: 17/06/2018
Day 4 - Luhmuhlen CCI4* show jumping and final results

Great Britain’s Laura Collett put in an immaculate clear round in today’s show jumping to secure second place at the Luhmuhlen CCI4* in Germany. The weekend brought fantastic results for GB as Rosalind Canter, Kitty King and Willa Newton also claimed third, fourth and fifth place respectively.

Posted: 16/06/2018
Thrilling Finish as Paul Kennedy Wins Equerry Grand Prix

Posted: 16/06/2018
Barker?s a Happy Boy at Bolesworth

Posted: 16/06/2018
Matt and Reece Rev it Up at Bolesworth

Posted: 16/06/2018
Day 3 - Luhmuhlen CCI4* cross country

Out in Germany at the Luhmuhlen CCI4* Laura Collett leads the charge for GB on the four star first timer Mr Bass. On a score of 29.90 penalties, Keith Scott, her own and Nick How's 10 year old gelding added nothing to their dressage score to jump up from 18th place after the dressage to third place following the completion of the cross country phase. 

Posted: 15/06/2018
International Flavour Arrives at Bolesworth

Posted: 15/06/2018
Julie Sparkles at Bolesworth International

Posted: 15/06/2018
Win for Francois Mathy Jnr with Robert Smith Close 2nd at Bolesworth

Posted: 15/06/2018
Emphatic Victory for Laura Renwick at Bolesworth

Posted: 15/06/2018
BD vacancies: key international roles

British Dressage is looking to appoint two key roles, one volunteer, one paid, in our Intenational Teams area.

We're searching for a Para Equestrian Dressage Selector to work as part of our team of experienced selectors. This position will become vacant following the World Equestrian Games 2018 in Tryon and we are looking for the right person to take this role forward for the next cycle.

This important role involves working with the Chief Selector and other appointed Selectors in order to nominate athlete combinations to represent Great Britain at FEI International competitions. Selectors report directly to the Chief Selector and are collectively overseen by the BD Chief Executive, the BD Para Director and the BEF Para Performance Manager.

The role, which is voluntary, includes attending World Class squad sessions and key CPEDI competitions as required, liaising with World Class and BD office staff over matters relating to the performance of either athlete or horse and ensuring that the good reputation of Team GBR, British Dressage and the British Equestrian Federation is upheld at all times.

The person appointed will need to be impartial, confidential, tactful and a good communicator. A sound knowledge of both national and international Para Equestrian competition and associated rules is essential.

The second role is a new postiton of Performance Manager to work as part of our experienced Under 21 international team to support our Pony, Children on Horses, Junior and Young Rider squads.

This pivotal new role will become available following this year’s European Championships. The Performance Manager offers an opportunity to play an integral part in the evolution of the British Dressage Under 21 International Teams, helping to manage the development of our riders over four squads, assisting riders with their annual training and competition programmes in a bid for selection.

The successful candidate will have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to manage, motivate and foster positive relationships in order to deliver success, as well as highly effective organisational and administrative skills. They will have experience of delivering sporting success at high performance level, with significant equestrian knowledge and experience, preferably with a good understanding of dressage

A key part of this role is being able to manage stakeholder relationships effectively, acting as the main point of contact for riders, parents, coaches, selectors and support staff. Therefore excellent communication skills, with a high level of emotional intelligence and the ability to handle sensitive information with tact and diplomacy, is essential for this role.

The role will be contracted for up to 40-45 days per annum, with an expectation of working weekends and undertaking significant travel abroad to assist athletes, coaches and support staff at key points in the competition calendar.

Full Job Descriptions for both roles are available here. In both cases, applicants should send their CV and covering letter to Jason Brautigam, Chief Executive of British Dressage, via email or by post to British Dressage, Copse Drive, Meriden Business Park, Meriden, West Midlands, CV5 9RG.

The deadline for applications is Friday 13 July 2018 for both, with interviews scheduled to take place the following week.

Posted: 15/06/2018
Para royalty star at Equissage Pulse semi-finals

Top-flight British para dressage took centre stage during the first two days of Wellington Premier League show in Heckfield, Hampshire (6 – 10 June 2018).

The Waterloo Arena provided the perfect setting for the semi-finals of the Equissage Pulse Para Gold Championships, attracting many of the country’s elite riders vying for a coveted place at the LeMieuux National Championships at Stoneleigh in September.

Grade IV
Seventeen-year-old Izzy Palmer and the Jazz-sired 18-year-old gelding Touchdown M (pictured) were the ones to post the winning score in the Grade IV Team Test. World Class Podium Potential Programme rider Izzy was awarded a score of 69.188% with Nicola Naylor and Ferrari close behind on 69.063%.

Happy with her ride, Izzy took to Facebook to say; “Touchdown was a star today, winning the team test at Wellington! Thanks to Equissage Pulse for sponsoring the class! [I’m] Starting to take in to my test what I get in the warm up, and hopefully [there’s] still more to come!

"Thanks to Sophie Wells for training me and letting me ride him, and Caroline Palmer for grooming and making him look so smart!”

The following day’s Individual test saw Nicky Greenhill (40) with the beautiful black mare Betty Boo rise to the top with a score of 69.573%. 'Betty' is new to the Greenhill stable this year. The nine-year-old Benetton Dream daughter, who is co-owned by Nicky and her husband Gary, has formed an amazing partnership with her talented, visually impaired rider. This year the pair have achieved scores of up to 74% in the Individual test and they’re certainly ones to watch for the future.

“I have never formed a relationship so strong with any other horse so quickly, she is something really special,” says Nicky.

Grade III
The rider to yield the highest scores across all five grades was Natasha Baker (28) with Mount St John Diva Dannebrog, at only their fifth competition together. Contesting the Grade III divisions, the multi gold medallist who trains with Lisa Hopkins won Wednesday’s Team Test on 75%, with second spot taken by 2017 European team gold medallist Erin Orford (29) aboard Annabel Whittet’s Dimaggio daughter, Dior UKH.

The following day, Natasha and Erin once again sealed the top two places with Natasha on 76.103% and Erin, 73.088%.

Clearly delighted, Natasha took to Facebook on Thursday to say; “What a little superstar this girl is, another win with 76.1% in the Individual Test! Couldn't be happier with her! One judge even thanked us in her comments! Highest score of the day again, I've had such an amazing couple of days and I am coming home on cloud 109. Love, love, love this super special girl!

“Special thanks to Emma Blundell from Mount St John for this amazing horse, Lisa Hopkins and Mum for their incredible support, and thanks to Wellington for hosting such an amazing competition,” she added.

Natasha acquired the ride on the Don Schufro sired nine-year-old earlier this year and they hit it off straight away, Natasha skilfully finding the key to the mare very early on. The pair made their international debut a winning one at Waregem CPEDI3* in April and are building on their scores each time out.

Grade I
Another new team, Sophie Christiansen and Amazing Romance, were victorious in the Grade I classes. Sophie (30) and nine-year-old ‘Harry’ produced two cracking rounds for 74.464% and 72.321%.

Eight-time Paralympic Champion Sophie reflected on the show via Facebook; “I've been trying to think about how I put my feelings about this week into words. These past few weeks have been bumpy for a few reasons, so my main aim was to go ride two ‘safe’ tests. I achieved this and I was thrilled that my team took on board my plan. However, I am a perfectionist and in my crazy brain ‘safe’ was not good enough - I didn't quite have him from my leg to my hand so the throughness and suppleness wasn't quite there - even though I had done what I had set out to do.

“I have to keep reminding myself at how far I have come in a year. Harry is still new to all this - all my other horses had at least a year of ring experience before I asked them to concentrate for five minutes of walk in front of the judges. I put pressure on myself to keep posting 75%+ scores, and forget about the journey. This is what makes me a champion, but also makes me unbearable at times! As I heard Nadal say on the radio this morning, "If you don't feel the pressure, you don't love the sport..."

Grade V
Sophie Wells and C Fatal Attraction (Fidertanz x Olivi) - pictured right - were the undisputed winners at Grade V in both the Team and Individual tests, with scores of 73.256% and 73.155% respectively.

Sophie (28) and ‘Jorge’, now 11, were part of the gold medal-winning team at the Para European Championships in Gothenburg last August where they also claimed Individual Silver and Freestyle Gold. Familiar faces at the FEI levels in able-bodied competition too, they emphatically won the Inter I at Keysoe Premier League earlier this year.

Grade II
Sophie’s compatriot and triple gold medallist in Gothenburg, Suzanna Hext, claimed the Grade II Individual with a score of 72.652% aboard Henrietta Cheetham’s LJT Enggaards Solitaire. The 13-year-old son of Blue Hors Soprano made a comeback in February following a six-month break from competition due to illness, and Suzanna is quite
rightly thrilled with his progress so far.

Suzanna (29) came into para dressage after an eventing fall in 2012 left her with life-changing injuries, and she’s overcome challenges and relished every opportunity since.

Hot on Suzanna’s heels was European Grade I triple gold medallist Julie Payne (55) who has recently been re-classified as Grade II. Aboard her own Pandora (by Pascal) - pictured right - she achieved second place. However, the tables were turned in the Individual when Julie and the bright chestnut 17-year-old had the winning edge to score 74.706% for victory.

The winners:

Wednesday 6 June

Class 1: Equissage Pulse Grade V Team Test
Sophie Wells with C Fatal Attraction, 73.256%

Class 2: Equissage Pulse Grade IV Team Test
Izzy Palmer with Touchdown M, 69.188%

Class 3: Equissage Pulse Grade III Team Test
Natasha Baker with Mount St John Diva Dannebrog, 75.00%

Class 4: Equissage Pulse Grade II Team Test
Suzanna Hext with LJT Enggaards Solitaire, 72.652%

Class 5: Equissage Pules Grade I Team Test
Sophie Christiansen with Amazing Romance, 74.464%

Thursday 7 June
Class 10: Equissage Pulse Grade V Individual Test
Sophie Wells with C Fatal Attraction, 73.155%

Class 11: Equissage Pulse Grade IV Individual Test
Nicky Greenhill with Betty Boo, 69.573%

Class 12: Equissage Pulse Grade III Individual Test
Natasha Baker with Mount St John Diva Dannebrog, 76.103%

Class 13: Equissage Pulse Grade II Individual Test
Julie Payne with Pandora, 74.706%

Class 14: Equissage Pulse Grade I Individual Test
Sophie Christiansen with Amazing Romance, 72.321%

For full results click here
Photo c Kevin Sparrow

Posted: 15/06/2018
80% dreams realised at Bolesworth

In the windy wrath of Storm Hector, history was made on day two at the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show. Yesterday’s Grand Prix competitors made their choice and opted for the Grand Prix Special or Freestyle and first on was the Theraplate GP Special. It was to be the test debut for yesterday’s winners, Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Freestyle, owned by Mount St John Stud.

The windy conditions proved tricky for many riders with a number of horses unnerved by the gusts. Sonnar Murray Brown and his own Erlentanz, in their maiden season of international Grand Prix, got the class off to a classy start with 69.55% in their first ever Grand Prix Special which eventually left them finish fifth.

Gareth Hughes was outstanding today with Julia Hornig, his own and wife Rebecca’s 12 year old Classic Briolinca and they look to be back on track after a few years of soundness issues. The duo haven’t ridden a GP Special together for a few years but it didn’t show as it was a consistent performance to score a new international PB of 75.38%.

Charlotte was next with her young star and the crowd was full of expectation to see what the mare could produce. It was the first time Charlotte has ridden the trst since Rio. A late change in the two-time flying changes was really the only blip with some greenness in the technically tricky test in the windiest of conditions – Charlotte said afterwards; “I felt like I was about to be blown off! It really affected my balance!” But to those watching, it just looked like poetry in motion. The scores were trending above 80% so her aim of breaking the magic barrier was looking like being realised. 80.36% was the confirmed debut score.

“Finally! I’m really pleased; there’s still blips and I think I slightly overrode the passage and should have ridden some transitions differently but she’s so reliable. She never worries and I knew she’d cope; it’s so nearly there. I know I can be braver in the extended trot so there’s more to come. She’s so incredibly strong, balanced and confident

“Carl said to just go in and ride a clear round and I was like ‘hell no!’ – I always like to be competitive!” she said with a wry smile. Many comparisons have been made between Valegro and the mare and the nation’s favourite scored 74.66% in his first Special, she went six percent better… “She’s just a freak,” Carl said of the Fidertanz sired mare. “She takes whatever you throw at her. I went all goosebumpy during the test and it’s exciting when you think it’s just the start of things.”

Emile Faurie followed on Hof Kasselmann’s Dono Dimaggio. There was a moment when the wind nearly took off his hat and he had to make a quick grab to keep it in place. It was their third Special together and although not a personal best, it was clear that the combination are really beginning to gel and blossom and 73.02% was the score which put them third.

Ulrik Molgaard ended a good show for him and Claus Munkedal’s Michigan with 70.7% which left them in fourth spot.

The Jones Homes Invitational PSG class got the second day of dressage underway and it was Jess Roisin Dunn from the neighbouring county of Lancashire who took the honours riding LG Alicante Valley owned by Jennifer Whittaker with 71.09%. Francesca Bradley and Baldovino were second with Sarah Higgins completing the podium with Davidoff.

2017 Team NAF Pony bronze medallist Megan Barratt took the PRB Horseboxes Pony Invitational with a great performance worthy of 70.94% with mum Sue’s Valido’s Starlight. The 16 year old from Oxon is balancing competing with her GCSEs and after the prizegiving hot footed it home ahead of her final exam tomorrow before returning to Bolesworth for Saturday’s British Dressage supported Invitational Freestyle.

Megan, trained by Paula Cooke, was pleased; “He was really good in there, we’ve never been in an arena that big before and he coped well with the atmosphere.” When asked if the wind affected their performance, she replied; “He’s well acclimatised as my trainer’s arena is outdoor and very windy!”

The CDI dressage at Bolesworth came to a close with the Equitop Myoplast Grand Prix Freestyle and it was a popular win for Carl Hester with his own, Lady Anne Evans and Ann Cory’s Hawtins Delicato. The Diamond Hit ten year old was a bit more on his toes today but it wasn’t down to the wind as it had calmed down. A mistake in his two-time flying changes and moments of disagreement into piaffe on both reins which Carl called ‘naughty’ just pegged the mark back on 76.22% but there were some real ‘wow’ moments including his extended trot which just floats.

“It was such a shame today. He warmed up even better than yesterday and then caught me out a bit in the arena. But he’s so gorgeous and felt a million dollars; really ‘up’ today. He’s a nervous horse and we’re still learning to understand him. It’s all going the right way and he’ll get used to things the more he does; he’s worth it. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have another horse at this level and the luxury of one who looks like him.”

Carl rode to an old music of Uthopia’s and he was asked when ‘Del’ might get a music of his own; “It’s a real investment these days so I’m waiting a bit longer. Our short term goal is selection for WEG where we want to get qualified for Tokyo and bring a team medal back, then I’ll look to the future.”

Richard Davison was a close second with Gwendolyn Meyer’s Bubblingh – indeed three of the five judges had the duo to win – on 75.87%. The crowd appreciated his ‘young’ music with hints of Robbie Williams and some DJ ‘scratching’ and it’s a floorplan which really uses Bubblingh’s strengths. They really looked like they enjoyed it today. The also had a mistake in their two-time changes which may have cost them victory but Richard was thrilled with the Lingh-sired 12 year old’s performance at Bolesworth.

“We had a little chat after yesterday’s piaffe antics. I was 99.9% happy with yesterday’s test and he did a really good job. He’s very sensitive and everyone recognises that he’s needed time to mature and develop. At Windsor he was wired…we went to Aachen, he was still wired so it’s great to come here and he’s happy, I clearly need to do more shows. It was a big crowd here today and he really held his nerve which was my aim.

“He’s very capable and it’s a privilege to train a horse like him. I’m really enjoying producing him and he reminds me that you never stop learning with horses, that’s for sure. The judges are ready to give him the big marks and when you consider what they’ve had to take off these two days, I’ve had good scores.”

Richard confirmed that he’s not going for selection for the World Equestrian Games. “He’s not ready so he’s not vaccinated to go to WEG. His owner and I are on the same page on his future and our big goal for him has always been Tokyo so that’s our ultimate aim.”

The exciting duo of Charlotte Fry and Van Olst Horses' Dark Legend completed the podium in only their second senior CDI, their fourth overall. At just 22, Charlotte oozes talent and Carl is already calling her his ‘new’ Charlotte and Dark Legend is just ten. A technically demanding test was awarded 72.5% for third.

Fourth spot went to Hong Kong rider Jacqueline Wing Ying Siu riding Ferrera on 71.7% to crown a great show for them where they completed their World Championship qualification. Fiona Bigwood completed the top five with Kjaeholm’s Abutsiaq on 68.92%.

Nina Barbour and her team at Bolesworth have worked hard to develop the dressage offering at the show and it really showed over the last two days. It’s been much appreciated by the riders and the crowds were out in force, especially today, despite the wind. Carl summed it up in saying; “It’s an amazing show, we’re so well looked after, the surfaces are the best and we get the top judges to ride in front of; it’s about time the Europeans travelled over to support us!”

There's a pony invitational on Freestyle supported by British Dressage on Saturday which will be available on live stream.

For full results – click here.

Photo c Adam Fanthorpe.

Posted: 15/06/2018
Applications close today for the National Development Programme for Coaching Excellence 2018/19

Going into its third year, The National Development Programme for Coaching Excellence is aimed at coaches working with adults and young people who participate in equestrian sport for competitive recreation motives.

Posted: 14/06/2018
Day 2 - Luhmuhlen CCI4* dressage

Pippa Funnell and Johnathan and Jane Clarke's Billy Beware lead the charge for Great Britain in fourth place on 25.8 penalties at the end of the dressage phase at the Luhmuhlen CCI4* in Germany. Also for GB, Rosalind Canter currently sits in sixth place on her own Zenshera on their score of 27.1, with Kitty King in joint eighth on Diana Bown, Jacqueline Owen and Samantha Wilson's Ceylor L A N on 27.4.


Posted: 14/06/2018
Breen?s Record-Breaking Performance

Posted: 14/06/2018
Brilliant Bolesworth Int'l Win for Irishman Paul Kennedy

Posted: 14/06/2018
Lovegrove Leaps to Bolesworth Triumph

Posted: 14/06/2018
Bolesworth's Big Beautiful Weekend

Posted: 14/06/2018
Halsall joins Judging's elite

British Dressage is delighted to announce that the FEI has promoted British FEI judge Clive Halsall to 5* Judging status as of 1 July 2018. Clive joins Andrew Gardner, Isobel Wessels and Stephen Clarke as Britain’s quartet of judges at this level and it means he is now eligible to officiate at senior FEI Championships around the globe. Just 40 elite judges from around the world hold this rank.

Clive (48) has ridden nationally to Grand Prix level, internationally at small tour level and has represented Great Britain at the FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses. In recent years, he has forged a highly successful judging career, a vocation which has taken him all across the world. Based in Lancashire, Clive has a passion for training too and travels extensively to train and take clinics, alongside his busy judging schedule. He was also appointed British Pony Team Trainer earlier this year.

Talking about his promotion Clive said; “To be honest I’m slightly overwhelmed, however I feel extremely honoured and proud to follow in the footsteps of the best judges in the world.”

“I started judging as a BD List 6 judge in 1990 progressing systematically through the levels to become a List 1 judge in 2006. Our national judges education programme is testament to my development and I am so grateful for all the support and guidance I have been given.”

Posted: 14/06/2018

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