Britain dominated the podium in the CDI4* Al Shira’aa Grand Prix, on the second day of CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show in the UK.
Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester, the karate kid and Mr. Miyagi of British dressage, took the top two spots aboard their new partners.
But it was Mount St John Freestyle, the new international ride of Hester’s protege, that stole the show.
At just nine-years old and competing in her third ever Grand Prix, Dujardin’s new international mount is being dubbed “Mrs. Valegro.” And the judges appear to agree.
The Hanoverian mare’s ground covering paces and relaxed attitude was awarded the winning score of 78.58%.
She’s now three for three in fledgling Grand Prix career. (Valegro, it’s worth mentioning, also won his first four Grand Prix tests, as well as his first four star Grand Prix.)
“I am chuffed to bits with her,” said Durjardin. “She’s so chilled and really takes everything in her stride especially as she has really done next to nothing at this international level—I am so, so happy.”
Here’s how happy:
Hester and the British-bred Hawtins Delicato, a horse he’s aiming at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in North Carolina in September, took second with a score of 75.717%.
“You literally have no idea with these young horses how they will react but this is such a good arena and space and does give you an idea of how they will cope with the big occasion,” said the 2011 European champion. “He is such a lovely horse with so much presence and the judges must, like me, also think highly of him.”
Britain’s Richard Davison rounded off the podium, taking third place with his homebred Bubblingh (70.8%).
International dressage continues at the Royal Windsor Horse Show on Friday with the Freestyle.
Dujardin and Freestyle will perform to a familiar tune for all dressage fans, the score from How to Train a Dragon, Valegro’s original music,
“We haven’t actually made a freestyle for her yet, so that’s something we have to do,” said the three-time Olympic gold medalist. “I’m just borrowing Blueberry’s music and, oh, I just love riding to it.”
No doubt we will too. Watch the CDI 4* Al Shir’aa Grand Prix Freestyle to Music at 1:25pm EDT on Horse Network Live! (The Queen insists.)