It was the turn of the young horses to strut their stuff on the Saturday of the NAF Five Star Hartpury Festival of Dressage.
The International Arena hosted the 4 and 5-year-olds, while the 6-year-olds performed indoors in the Hartpury Arena. The four-year-old class proved to be of a very high standard with many of the results being in the high 70 per cent and the top three above 80 per cent.
Jennifer Martell with her own and Amy Woodheads DBM Secre-C came out on top with a fabulous score of 85.400%. Following a close second, Sadie Smith and Times Orwell 82.000%. Coming in third, with the same score as Sadie was Greg Sims and MSJ Swing Musik 82.000%. When two competitors have the same mark, the placings are decided by who has the highest collective marks.
Taking place at the same time as the four-year-old class but in the adjoining arena, were the five-year-olds. This also proved to be a very high scoring class, with marks even better than the neighbouring four-year-olds. With a wonderful score of 86.200%, Amy Woodhead and MSJ Viva Donnebrog took first place. Following hot on her heels to take second place were Beth Bainbridge and WHD Elton 86.000%. Alicia Lee and Della Ballerina with a very respectable score of 79.800% were third.
After lunch, the CDI1* Intermediate I got underway. The large field took the rest of the afternoon to complete with Becky Moody continuing her run of good form, taking the win on the 13-year-old KWPN stallion James Bond with 73.088%. Katherine Bateson and Tina Rading’s bay gelding took second place with 72.765%. Rowan Bryson - a former Hartpury student, took third with his own and Heather Brysons Izonik with 71.882%
Having an early start, to run alongside the International Arenas, the Hartpury Arena hosted the KBIS Young Dressage Horse Semi-Final 6-year-old. Tom Goode and Iceland Girl PS, who did his test early on must’ve thought that with a score of 82.000% he had every chance of taking the win. That was until Sarah Mills and Imperial Magic Dream entered the arena. Scoring 82.200% they overtook him and won the class. With a very respectable 81.000% Jayden Brown and Willingapark Miana were third. Hartpury graduate Daniel Bremner and Monet X continued the fabulous run of results that past and present Hartpury students have had this week. Scoring 79.600%, he came fourth.
Following on after the lunch break were the JS Teamwear FEI Pony, Children on Horses, Junior and Young Rider classes. The Pony and Children on Horses ran together with the results being split at the end into two classes.
Taking the honours in the Pony section was Daisy Bullman and Godrics Decoy with 71.000%. Second, Tara Faulds and Godrics Decoy with 67.047% and third, with 66.762% Evie Head and Brouwershaven’s Leonie.
There were only three horses in the children on horses section but this did not deter from the standard. Avah Heath had two rides, she took the win with 73.025% riding Koningshoek Jackpot, stopping her taking both top spots was Abigail Hallett and her own St Nazaire C with 69.525% and lastly Avah Heath again in third, this time riding WFD Just Dillion with 69.425%.
Almost twelve months after hosting the FEI Dressage and Eventing European Championships for Juniors and Young Riders 2022, Hartpury welcomed a number of them back. Nine Juniors came forward to take part in their class. Hannah Luesley riding Ferdi and Geri Eilberg’s Rihanna continued her good form of the summer to take the win with 67.076%. Close on her heels taking second and also having a good summer, was Crystal Robinson Long with her own High-Quality with 66.364%. Taking third place, India Hamilton-Burnet with Alex Hamilton-Burnets Kissingdale with 65.454%.
The final class of the afternoon was JS Teamwear's FEI Young Rider. Jessie Kirby with the Sir Donnerhaul I-sired 12-year-old Windy de la Roche CMF, took the win with a score of 68.382% leaving Lucy Marshall and Casse-Cou in second place with 65.441%. In third was Alice Knight with SJL Dom Perignon with 65.196%.
Saturday evening at the NAF Five Star Hartpury Festival of Dressage is renowned for its Gala Performance. Anna Ross returned to present a lively and informative demonstration, offering advice to an enthused audience on test riding, the fundamentals of flatwork and preparing horses for the path to Grand Prix.
The evening opened with the Elite Stallions Young Horse Prix St Georges Championship. Eight 7, 8 and 9-year-old horses had qualified from Thursday’s preliminary round (from a field of 17), making it through to the evening performance. Split into two sections, Zoe Sleigh and Zall Stensvang set the early standard of 69.216% with four horses having competed.
When the final four horses took to the arena everything quickly changed. Sadie Smith and Swanmore Dantina who had a fabulous score of 77.451% to win the qualifying round, went even better to score 80.000%, adding yet another win to this impressive horse's summer results. Robert Barker who has been flying the flag for Hartpury as a past student, and Herbstrot did a lovely test to come second with 72.745%. Third was taken by Spencer Wilton and Woodcroft Django Mon Ami with 72.000%. Incredibly the top three of the final were in exactly the same places in the qualifying semi final on Thursday.
The very entertaining NAF Superflex CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle to Music followed with 13 competitors. As the evening progressed, the music choices brought the party atmosphere to the Hartpury crowd. Becky Moody and Jagerbomb entered the arena and danced to a medley of music by Sir Tom Jones. The judges obviously felt the same way as the audience with Moody and Jagerbomb scoring 79.990% to take the win.
Ireland’s Abigail Lyle and Giraldo had to follow the winning test, but put in a lovely test to score 75.555% to take second. Australia’s Jayden Brown, who is based in the UK in an attempt to secure a slot for his home nation at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games rode a lovely test with Willingapark Quincy B to score 75.485% and take third. It would be nice to think that the owner of the horse, Terence Snow, managed to watch the test on Horse & Country TV back home in Australia!
Great Britain’s Louise Bell showed all her experience despite a technical glitch with her music, putting her years in the show ring to good use and scoring 75.200% with the John Whitaker-bred Into The Blue. Ireland’s Sorrell Klatzko went right at the end of the evening, but kept a cool head with Turbo and finished in fifth place with 74.465%.
China’s Sarah Rao led after the first session, impressing the judges with the Dutch-bred Alfranco, but a score of 70.835% meant she’d eventually have to settle for seventh place.