Royal Windsor Horse Show: British Favourite Does the Double
Written by Amy Bennett
At what was their first attempt at an international Grand Prix together, Great Britain’s very own Carl Hester and Barolo took both the 4* Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Freestlye classes at the Royal Windsor Horse Show on Thursday and Friday night.
The maestro of dressage himself, Carl piloted the relatively inexperienced 11 year old 16hh gelding around a very atmospheric arena with his usual grace and poise to a score of 74% for the GP and 79.85% for the freestyle. “I wasn’t sure whether doing my first test on him at Windsor was brace or stupid,” Carl laughed, “but he did some lovely work out there tonight.” Carl said of his GP win on Thursday.
The Breitling W chestnut, who has previously been campaigned by Charlotte Dujardin up until now looked relaxed and at ease during whilst producing mistake-free tests on both nights. Borrowing Charlotte and Valegro’s “How to Train a Dragon” freestyle music, his extensions and canter changes proved real highlights on the night, with more work yet to show as he strengthens and gains more experience. “I really enjoyed it out there,” Carl said of his freestyle, “we’ve had Rolo since he was six and have come a long way in getting him strong enough and mentally ready [for GP work] as he’s not very brave. But he’s lovely and I want to get everything out of him so there’s more to come,” Carl said of the promising rising star.
Proving somewhat of a British whitewash of the top three, Hayley Watson-Greaves and Gareth Hughes were in hot contest for the other two placings in the top three. But both nights saw Hayley and the evergreen Rubins Nite nip into second over Gareth and the very inexperienced Don Carissimo who was performing his first ever freestyle test. However, the horse’s boxing skills with his front legs during the prize giving could easily earn him a team place on a different Olympic discipline!
Although just a 12 strong class of combinations contesting the class, what this convincing British one, two, three certainly shows us is that there is promising strength and depth in team GB ahead of this year’s Europeans and there is certainly life in the team yet after Valegro’s retirement!