Great Britain’s Olympic dressage gold medallists thrilled a capacity crowd on the opening night of this year’s Bolesworth CSI **** International as they showcased their unique brand of magic.
Reigning Olympic, World and European champion Charlotte Dujardin was joined by her London 2012 team-mates Carl Hester and Laura Tomlinson as the stars shone in the glorious grounds of Bolesworth Castle.
Split into two sections – Inter Freestyle and Grand Prix Freestyle (both classes were sponsored by Cool Equestrian and Mount St John) – Bolesworth’s latest dressage spectacle proved to be another sparkling success.
Dujardin, riding young prospect Hawtins Delicato, posted a score of 72.792% to finish second in the Inter Freestyle behind Charlie Hutton, whose established partner Super Blue triumphed on 75.417%, with Tomlinson and Dolceverdy O third (71.500%) and Matt Frost aboard AMD Don Havidoff fourth (66.125%).
And there was a real treat for the audience when Hester and his prospective Rio Olympics ride Nip Tuck performed to the music being prepared for Brazil, as they claimed an emphatic Grand Prix Freestyle victory with a score of 81.917%.
There was also a strong performance from Hayley Watson-Greaves, who finished second on Rubin Nite, while third place went to Emile Faurie and Bohemo Tinto and Richard Davison retired Don Bettino.
Hester said: “I am really happy. That arena was spectacularly perfect in its footing and everything. It was well worth the trip. The horse needed the run, and that is only the second time I have ridden to that music.
“He is the biggest horse, just over 18 hands, and he is very sharp in his mind. He is so fast-thinking.
“Bolesworth is a true international show. I really love it. The venue is stunning, the footing is stunning, and I really hope they can develop the dressage here. It was an amazing crowd tonight.”
And Hutton was thrilled with Super Blue, adding: “He has been an amazing horse. He tries so hard, and what a great atmosphere here at Bolesworth.
“Today is the last time I will be competing him at Small Tour level. I am hoping to move up to Middle Tour and Grand Prix, so it was a really special occasion.
“He was very spooky when he was younger, but I know him so well now that I feel I can handle it. He actually thrives on the bigger atmosphere, and he is a horse that has surpassed all expectations.”