Charlotte Dujardin continued her Royal Windsor Horse Show success, claiming victory in The Defender CDI4* FEI Dressage Freestyle to add to Wednesday’s Grand Prix win. In doing so, she repeats her dual triumph from 2019 – the last time international Dressage was held at the Show.
Kathleen Kröncke took an early lead as third to go. With music that suited her horse perfectly, Kröncke received excellent artistic scores of over 80% to contribute to an overall mark of 76.365%. Laura Tomlinson riding Fallatijn, a horse she has produced since 2016, was second behind Kröncke going into the half time break. However with several strong combinations to come the leaderboard was by no means secure.
Louise Anne Bell was the first to enter the arena after the break, excelling in her piaffe and passage to go into third with a score of 72.590%. Showing no evidence of her recent break from competition, Charlotte Dujardin set the Castle Arena alight with an athletic and fluid performance aboard her 10-year-old gelding, Imhotep. Dujardin’s impressive test was the first to break the 80% barrier, receiving a score of 83.200% and setting the standard for those to come.
I was so excited to come here, it was really not in my schedule to rush back after having my daughter, but I got on and felt really good. I absolutely love this show, so here I am! I was so excited to be here, back out here riding and competing, for me it’s just such a buzz and I’ve loved every minute of it.”
Of Imhotep, she continued:
He hasn’t competed since the World Equestrian Games last year, so it was a huge ask for him to come here as it’s such a huge atmosphere! I’m a bit ring rusty, he’s a bit ring-rusty, we’re still making mistakes, but he’s such an incredible horse to come to this kind of show and perform the way he has the past two days, I can’t ask for more. To get this under our belt is absolutely fantastic.”
On his debut at Royal Windsor Horse Show, Lewis Carrier put in an impressive performance to go into second place with a score of 77.405%. Carrier, who has already experienced success in the Under-25 ranks, cemented his status amongst the best up-and-coming talent in the country aboard Diego V.
Diego V really rose to the occasion; he didn’t put a foot wrong even though he was so fresh. It is only the third time I have ridden through the test and my first time in a competitive environment. I wish there were more shows like Royal Windsor in the UK – the crowds have been unbelievable and right behind me from the start. I had a tear in my eye halfway through my test, and my final halt was the perfect way to finish.”
As last to go, Dujardin’s 2022 FEI World Championship teammate Gareth Hughes looked to put her lead in jeopardy with the experienced Classic Briolinca. However, his score of 80.510 was only enough for eventual second, pushing Carrier back to third.
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Feature Image: Charlotte Dujardin, winner of The Defender CDI4* FEI Dressage Freestyle at Royal Windsor Horse Show @RoyalWindsorHorseShow/Peter Nixon