On Sunday, Charlotte “Lottie” Fry (GBR) and Glamourdale came just a percentage shy of Catherine Laudrup-Dufour (DEN) and Vamos Amigos leading score of 81.864% in the team competition at the ECCO FEI World Championships in Herning, Denmark.
Fry’s 80.838% helped secure silver for the British team, but she had gold medal ambitions for Glamourdale this championship. And so, the roles were reversed in Monday’s Individual Grand Prix Special.
“I’d never sat on anything like him before. He’s always been so special and the feeling he gives now is the same as when he was six. The sky is the limit,” said Fry.
The 11-year-old KWPN stallion’s test scored 80s across the board, including perfect 10s for his extended canter pass once again. They tallied an impressive 82.508%. It was just ahead of Laudrup-Dufour’s 81.322% with 10-year-old gelding Vamos Amigos. Dinja van Liere (NED) aboard Hermes took the bronze medal with 79.407%.
“When he was seven he won the World Championship for Young Horses. That was when we knew he was a massive showman. He loves going in the ring, the more people the better, he wants to show off. He just wants everyone’s eyes on him,” said Fry of the stallion’s growing fever for success.
“Then we made the step to Grand Prix and he just keeps getting better and better and stronger. He’s one in a million, I’ll never find one like him again. The future is also so exciting, this is his first senior championship and I feel like there is so much we can improve that it’s scary.”
Not much room for better marks in the extended canter, though.
Fry was slated to go second to last in the starting order. It was a high pressure position, wedged between yesterday’s high point rider Laudrup-Dufour and defending Grand Prix Special Champion and Olympic gold medalist Isabel Werth (GER).
Unsurprisingly, Vamos Amigos reprised his genius, improving upon Sunday’s Team Championship Grand Prix. Yet their score sheet ultimately felt a small error in the two-tempis, opening the door for Glamourdale to passage through.
“I’m really pleased with Vamos, he felt a lot better than yesterday. I felt the connection improved a lot. Of course there was that bit in the two-tempis, that’s just sport and we tried to go for it, and the crowd were fantastic,” said Laudrup-Dufour.
Vamos Amigos’ impression had the crowd electric when Fry and Glamourdale entered the Stutteri Ask Stadium—energy the pair channeled into their test.
“They were literally going wild and [Glamourdale] could feel the atmosphere and rose to it today. He was trying so hard and he gave me the most incredible feeling throughout the test!”
It takes a village, and sometimes your rival
“Anne van Olst, my trainer, was up the entire night worrying how I was going to fix those pirouettes, and I got a great tip from Isabell [Werth] as well. And with the combination of both of them we got it done today,” said Fry.
In a heartwarming moment of sportsmanship, Werth also offered a high five to her Fry she passed on her way out of the ring. The German Olympian ultimately finished just off of the podium in fourth position with 12-year-old stallion DSP Quantaz (79.073%). To Fry, though, she will always have a spot on top.
“Isabell is literally the queen!” gushed Fry, who sported the crown today.
“She is amazing. She has inspired me since I was five years old so it’s incredible and she’s the nicest person, always cheering and supporting.”
Hermes is just having fun
Van Liere had hopes to crack 80% in the Grand Prix Special with her 10-year-old mount Hermes, but fell just shy of the mark (79.407%).
Of course, even the best horses will be horses.
“He spooked twice a little bit but quickly focused again and went on. He’s still so young and so talented,” said Van Liere.
“He was a bit impressed by the arena on Saturday and again today, but we had a job to do and we wanted to do a nice test without big mistakes. So I was happy I could do that.”
On day one of the Team Championship, the pair posted the highest score of the day with 78.835%, which secured an early lead for the Dutch team that they ultimately handed over to Denmark.
Hermes’ scores will likely only improve has he grows in maturity. His personality, though, sounds like it might stick.
“[Hermes] is really smart but he’s also a clown and thinks everything is so funny. He’s really enthusiastic, which makes him fun to ride and he loves all the attention. You can see it when we do the salute at the end of a test, he has a really big ego and next to that he has so much talent for all the collected work and piaffe and passage so I’m really happy to have a horse like him,” said Van Liere.
As is the Dutch team, given the promise of podiums to come.