Davison retains his title at Gala Evening

For the second year on the trot, Olympic dressage rider Richard Davison and his 12-year-old KWPN gelding Bubblingh stole the limelight during Saturday night’s gala evening, claiming the NAF Superflex FEI CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle.

A slick performance to a funky garage compilation earned the pair 77.81%.

“He’s taken a long time to get him where I want him this season, and he finally feels like he’s getting there,” said Richard. “I’m still not riding him full out because I want him to settle in the arena and I thought he did tonight. In fact, he was probably the easiest he’s ever been to ride. Tom Hunt composed my freestyle music last year. I wanted something jazzy and upbeat and it really suits Bubblingh’s personality.”

In second place was Sonnar Murray-Brown riding Erlentanz, an 11-year-old gelding by Latimer. The pair pulled off a stunning display for 75.4%. Third place went to former working hunter champion Louise Bell and her 12-year-old Ublesco gelding Into The Blue who scored 70.64%.

Olympic gold-medallist Charlotte Dujardin continued her run of good form to land the Elite Stallions Young Horse PSG Final riding Sarah Tyler-Evans’ British-bred seven-year-old mare River Rise Nisa. The win was all the more impressive as it was only the mare’s third ever prix st georges.

“For a seven-year-old to come out and do a test like that is really impressive,” said Charlotte. “You can see she loves to work and finds it very easy. I forget she’s only seven, and it’s easy to push and ask for more because she is such a giver and has so much talent. She is definitely going to be one of my top horses for future Olympics.”

Runner-up spot was awarded to Alice Oppenheimer and her homebred eight-year-old mare Headmore Davina who earned 73.77% for their performance, while Henry Boswell and Margaret Lister’s eight-year-old gelding Folt scored 70.92% for third place.

Alongside the top-class dressage competition, spectators were treated to an informative lecture demo by dressage music composer Tom Hunt.

Tom demonstrated how to put together the perfect musical compilation for dressage freestyles with the help from renowned young horse producer and international dressage rider Rebecca Hughes and her daughter Ruby.

Rebecca rode Allison Croft’s elegant seven-year-old Oldenburg gelding Tantoni Dallaglio, while daughter Ruby partnered Phoebe Peters’ 19-year-old New Forest pony beau Supreme.

Tom started the demonstration by explaining that the two key elements of creating the perfect freestyle are dynamics and phrasing. Each needs to work together in order for the freestyle to work.

He then showed how different types of music can benefit a horse’s strengths, playing different types of music while Rebecca and Ruby trotted and cantered around the Hartpury Arena, and explaining which music suited which equine better.

Rebecca then finished the demonstration by performing a short freestyle to composed music.

Sunday promises another packed schedule of dressage for the final day of the competition.

  • Hickstead 5yr Old National and International
  • Cavalor FEI Intermediate II
  • Dawson Memorial Junior, Young Rider and Pony Team Test
  • Hickstead 6yr Old National and International
  • British Dressage Young Pony 4, 5 & 6yr Old Final
  • Fairfax Saddles, Monarch Equestrian FEI Prix St Georges
  • Baileys Horse Feeds FEI CDI Grand Prix Special
  • Andrews Bowen FEI CDI Intermediate I Freestyle

Full results from the Festival of Dressage can be found on the results page. Results will be uploaded live each day, so keep an eye on the page. You can watch the action on the live stream.

Want to come and see some dressage? Tickets for Sunday (8 July) cost £6 per day. Get yours on the Hartpury online shop or call us on 01452 702127 and they’ll be ready for you to collect on the door. Under 16’s and parking is free all week.

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