Para riders pave the path to success on Festival’s first day

Hartpury’s Festival of Dressage got off to a great start in the sunshine as all of the top spots in the International Para Dressage competition were clinched by the home team.

The FEI CPEDI3* Team Test Grade V kicked off the day in which Sophie Wells and her own Fatal Attraction stormed clear of the rest of the competition, taking the top spot on 73.674%. Charlotte Cundall, riding KBIS Starchaser, clinched second on 66.442%.

Izzy Palmer stayed ahead of the field on both rides in the Grade IV, taking first place aboard Pinnochio and second place with Touchdown, on scores of 71.525% and 70.775%. Heather Bennett and Zavailantika only narrowly missed out to Izzy, taking third on 69.875%.

Suzanna Hext claimed the top spot riding Pammy and Charlie Hutton’s Abira in the Grade III on 72.118%. Erin Orford and Nirvana Morroko did just enough to beat Amanda Shirtcliffe and New-Princess into second place with a mark of 69.147% to Amanda’s 69.029%.

Georgia Wilson was competing two of her own horses in the Grade II class, taking second and third aboard Lordanos Lover and Chico III on 69.848% and 67.424%. Natasha Adkinson riding Sweet Caledonia pipped Georgia to first place on 73%.

The rest of the field couldn’t keep up with Julie Payne and Athene Lindejerg in the Grade I, as the duo lead from second to go on an amazing 78.464%, while Mari Durward-Akhurst and Sky O’Hara brought home the silver spot on 70.571%.

With three arenas running, the NAF Five Star Recover Advanced Medium 92 and Shadow Horse Advanced Medium 98 also saw the Festival get underway this morning. Vikki Pengilly riding her own Zion E took the top spot in the silver section and overall in the Advanced Medium 92 on 67.43%. It was an extremely close run class as Bridget Tate and Hawtins Werona came in for second on 67.30% whilst Kirsty Imm and Don-Davidoff CL completed the top three on 67.03%.

Charlotte Dujardin, riding Carl Hester’s Ekitof, took the top spot on 74.30% in the Advanced Medium 98 whilst Carl kept a close eye on proceedings from outside the arena. Charlie Hutton was only a percent behind as he took second spot with Hawtins Rossana on 73.20%.

The last class of the day, the Baileys Horse Feeds FEI Intermediate II, was a close fought battle with less than 1% between the top three. Won by Matt Frost and AMD Don Rosso II on 68.03%, local rider Sara Gallop and Summerhouse Bandreo were pipped to third on 67.41% having lead for a large part of the class. Maria Eilberg made up the top three in second spot on 67.85%.

Two Fairfax FEI Prix St Georges classes completed the afternoon’s competition outside. Class 1a saw riders taking the top spots on their own horses with Kate Smith riding De La Veiga to come out on top with 72.59%, Jennifer Johnston-Harman and MFS Caliana taking second on 70.44% and Hannah Biggs with Camarilla-Calimero taking third on 69.21%.

Charlotte Dujardin once again showed why she is a multiple Olympic gold medalist as riding Mount St John Fairytale she took the second Prix St Georges class on 75.61%. Sadie Smith and her own Keystone Dynamite came second on 72.37% as Rachel Clark and Wilhemina II completed the podium places on 70.39%.

With another action packed four days ahead, entry is free Thursday 6th and just £6 for entry Friday 7th – Sunday 9th July. Tickets for the famous gala evening on Saturday are still available at £16.50 which includes day entry. Under 16’s and parking is free all week.

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