Double Olympic dressage champion Charlotte Dujardin wasted little time in making her mark as the 2017 Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show got off to an exciting start.
Two days of world-class international dressage launch this year’s show, and after Carl Hester won the opening Berkeley Group CDI three-star grand prix, Dujardin again highlighted the rich potential of nine-year-old Hawtins Delicato.
Dujardin, Olympic individual gold medallist at London 2012 and in Rio last summer, landed the Invitational Inter 1 Freestyle, sponsored by Kingsley Equestrian, by a comfortable margin.
Their score of 74.75 per cent proved too much for a field that also included Great Britain’s multiple Paralympic medallist Sophie Wells, with Sadie Smith and Keystone Dynamite finishing second, while Vicky Thompson and Artist was third.
As she did at the Horse of the Year Show in Birmingham eight months ago with Delicato, it was another dominant display that did iittle to reduce excitement levels surrounding one of the country’s most exciting young horses.
Delicato is set to be the next top ride for Dujardin’s mentor Hester, and she said: “He is going to be an incredible horse next year for Carl, when hopefully he will be at grand prix level.”
And Hester also has no doubt about the horse’s potential, adding: “He is the most exciting young horse in the country at the moment.
“He just needs the confidence with shows and gaining experience. He is a big hope, and he is also British-bred.”
Attention now turns to Thursday’s dressage action, which is highlighted by the freeestyle to music finale, a grand prix special and number of exciting young horse classes.