London, U.K – Dec. 17, 2019 – The London International Horse Show was filled with Christmas cheer on Tuesday, Dec. 17 as spectators from around the world gathered in Olympia Grand to watch the dressage highlight event of the week: the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix Freestyle. Fifteen top athletes and their mounts returned to the arena, all hoping to secure valuable qualification points towards the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final set to take place in Las Vegas in April 2020. For the second night in a row, it was Charlotte Dujardin who rose to the top. Impressing the judges and bringing life to the crowd, Dujardin claimed the best Christmas present she could ask for, a win on her home turf at the Olympia CDI-W Freestyle.
Riding to her new music for only the second time, Dujardin piloted Emma and Jill Blundell’s Mount St. John Freestyle (Fidermark x Donnerhall II) to a tremendous score of 87.520%. This was the 10-year-old Hanoverian mare’s third ever freestyle, in addition to being only her second indoor show ever. Though Dujardin considers her to still be green in some areas, the show-stopping mare received high degree of difficulty marks with her floorplan which included a piaffe half-pirouette. The triple Olympic gold medalist was thrilled with her “Frozen” film-inspired performance and was proud to take home her first Freestyle win at Olympia since setting the Freestyle world record with Valegro at Olympia 2014. The next show on her radar will be the CDI-W in Amsterdam in January.
Following the same order as yesterday’s Grand Prix, Britain’s Carl Hester was rewarded for his efforts with a second place finish. Despite his disappointment with his test yesterday, Hester came back stronger than ever, achieving a new personal best score in the Freestyle with an 84.470% on Hawtins Delicato (Diamond Hit x Regazzoni). Hester and the 11-year-old British Hanoverian gelding danced to a familiar program, making a drastic improvement from their Grand Prix only one day before.
Twenty-three year old Charlotte Fry, known as Lottie, made it onto the podium once again for her Freestyle performance. Riding Van Olst Horses’ Everdale (Lord Leatherdale x Negro) the rising star athlete also broke through the 80% barrier, putting 82.620% on the scoreboard. Fry had only received her new music a week before the competition and had little time to practice before coming to her first show at Olympia. Despite its unfamiliarity, Fry and the 10-year-old KWPN stallion did not miss a beat.
Dressage competition at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, has now concluded. The remainder of the week will feature the FEI Driving World Cup™ and with the FEI Jumping World Cup™ classes, along with dog agility, Shetland pony races and much more.
RESULTS: FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix Freestyle
Place / Athlete / Country / Horse / Owner / Total Score
1. Charlotte Dujardin / GBR / Mount St. John Freestyle / Emma and Jill Blundell / 87.520
2. Carl Hester / GBR / Hawtins Delicato / Carl Hester, Anne Evans and Ann C / 84.470
3. Charlotte Fry / GBR / Everdale / Van Olst Horses / 82.620
4. Frederic Wandres / GER / Duke of Britain / Hof Kasselmann GmbH & Co. KG / 82.550
5. Lara Butler / GBR / Rubin Al Asad / Dr. W and Mrs. U Bechtolsheimer / 81.540
6. Anders Dahl / DEN / Fidelio van het Bloemenhof / Anders Dahl and Fiona Bigwood / 77.550
7. Richard Davison / GBR / Bubblingh / G. Meyer and R. Davison / 77.060
8. Gareth Hughes / GBR / KK Woodstock / Claudine Kroll, Jessica Kroll and Mart / 76.900
9. Louise Anne Bell / GBR / Into the Blue / Louise Bell / 76.060
10. Thamar Zweistra / NED / Hexagon’s Double Dutch / Stal Dexagon & L.F.L.v. Lieren / 75.310
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Charlotte Dujardin – CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle winner
On winning the class on a new horse:
“I was really pleased with tonight. That was her third ever freestyle so she’s inexperienced with the music. Going in there tonight you could really feel the crowd — it felt even closer than last night going around the edge. It was quite a difficult floor plan. I felt she really tried and listened to me. I can’t ask for more of her with where she is at the moment. I was really delighted.”
On setting up for 2020:
“As everyone knows I’ve had my highs and my lows this year. For me it’s been great to end on such a good, positive ride. Going forward to next year I’m really excited because I feel that everytime I compete her she gets better and better. There is so much more to come. I still feel she is a little bit green in some areas but it takes time, confidence and experience to expose them. I’m looking forward to next year. There are plenty [more points to earn]!”
On preparing Mount St. John Freestyle for Tokyo:
“One thing she is not, is spooky. She can go into any arena and I know I don’t need to worry about what she is going to look at. She’s actually better outside when things are further away. I’ve recently learned, after going to Lyon as her first indoor show — it’s more the atmosphere. For sure with Tokyo, I don’t worry at all. Doing one show a month, I feel, has been really helpful for me. I can go to a show, go home and work on some of the things I feel need a bit of help and get her stronger, then I go to another show. It’s never ending but one thing I’ve learned is patience. You have to really take your time. With a horse like Valegro who was incredible — I could just keep asking for more and he kept giving more. With her I have to take my time and get her confidence. For her, she had a lot more expectation to start with compared to Valegro. We had an easier start to our career.”
On her freestyle:
“I always go for a theme. With Valegro, I went with “How To Train Your Dragon” and then I had this idea that Freestyle is quite like a ballerina, very dancy and floaty, which is why I used that music. She’s amazing because I give her all these lines and twists and turns and she really copes with it. Who knows for next year!”
Carl Hester – CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle second place
On earning a career personal best:
“It shows what a difference a day can make! You go from one day where the horse is not clearly confident and then the next day he is totally rideable. His last show was at the European Championships, which was a meltdown. I’m thrilled with my score. Particularly with my horse, who I’ve always felt was one of the best horses I’ve ever had, I just haven’t got there yet. Mechanically he is so good because of his hind end and a good walk, trot and canter.”
On the future for the British Dressage Team:
“I’m still not getting in the ring what I get at home but we all win medals at home! It’s so exciting to know we had five horses over 80% and four of them are British. We have to up the game now as we look at Germany and Denmark as teams who are very strong going into the Olympics. We need to put down a gauntlet of scores like that. Another six months may make a world of difference to these young horses.”
Charlotte Fry – CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle third place
On her podium finish during her Olympia debut:
“It’s not going to sink in for quite a while! I didn’t expect it to go quite like this — maybe in my dreams! I’ve had an amazing two days. Everdale has done two personal bests. I didn’t expect us to go so high, so quickly so I was really pleased with him. In the lead up to Olympia we have been training really hard and we are so excited to be back. I think the buildup helped everything fall into place on the day. I dare to dream that next year will be a really exciting year and we will see what happens.”
On her freestyle:
“My freestyle was new — we got it about a week ago and practiced a few times. I really love riding it and it was so much fun.”