Dressage’s glamour girl Woodlander Farouche was again the talk of town—the town this time being Fritzens in the Austrian Tyrol, home to last week’s CDI4*.
The British-bred Hanoverian and former world five- and six-year-old champion, who is owned by Alison Walton and the Eilberg family, cruised to an easy prix st georges (PSG) victory under the capable hands of her regular rider Michael Eilberg.
In just their second international at the level, the pair also added the Inter I to their CV, meaning they still have a clean sheet of international victories—10 in all so far. Farouche’s extraordinary record adds 14 (out of 15) national victories to her list of achievements—the pair is the reigning National Champion at PSG.
In the PSG, the nine-year-old leggy chestnut mare was almost five percent ahead of the Krack C mare, Donna Caribica, second with German rider Wibke Bruns, who is the assistant trainer to Sissy Max Theurer.
Michael Eilberg’s former team-medal-winning ride, Half Moon Delphi, might have been sold to America but, as he showed, he still has a chance of selection for this year’s British team with his old partner Marakov. The pair put themselves on the selector’s radar thanks to a second place in the grand prix with a 73% plus score, and was third in the freestyle with a personal best freestyle score for the 15-year-old, Russian-bred Marakov (77.2%).
Austrian Olympian and 12-time national champion Victoria Max-Theurer won both freestyle tour classes with her stallion Augustin OLD, and the pair reclaimed the Manfred Swarovski trophy they won last year. It was a successful return to the arena for Augustin, who has not competed since the WEG last August.
Dorothee Schneider, a member of the silver medal team in London 2012, won the special tour with the nine-year-old Sandro Hit gelding Showtime 59. Michael Eilberg rode Farouche’s dam, Dornroschen, in this section, which was the first international grand prix for the Dimaggio mare. The score was just short of 70%, putting the pair third of the 18 combinations. In the more difficult special test, they were fifth.
British Olympian Carl Hester was on the big tour start list with his relatively new ride, the Somerford Premier League grand prix winner Wanadoo, who has been brought up the grades by his owner, Reading-based rider Coral Ingham. With extraordinary bad timing, shortly after arrival Wanadoo developed a foot abscess and the following day was driven all the way home again. Carl stayed on to enjoy a weekend in the Alps at the stylish show, though he worked for his supper by commentating for the live stream.
(Audio in German)
Lara Griffith and her boss Laura Tomlinson had an economic trip to the Hickstead Premier League show (June 25-28), winning a big tour class apiece.
Griffith claimed the 31-strong grand prix with the Bechtolsheimers’ Rubin Al Asad on a 72% plus score, a personal best for the pair, who are the reigning Inter II national champions and in their first season of grand prix. They will next compete as members of the British team at the CDIO in Hagen (July 8-12).
Tomlinsons, who was fifth in the class with Unique III, had previously won the Inter II with her Holstein mare. Gareth Hughes and Classic Briolinca, winners of three Premier League Inter IIs this year, had to settle for second spot, while Gareth was also third with the stallion Samba Hit III.
Olivia Oakley and Don Carissimo—formerly and successfully competed at PSG by Matt Hicks until the end of last year—were the highest-scoring winning combination of the three Inter I classes, but only just; the pair, who already has their ticket to the Nationals and also won one of the four PSG classes, saw off Matt Frost and AMD Don Rosso II—winners of a high-scoring PSG class—by just 0.18%.
Former British team rider Emile Faurie also enjoyed an Inter I win, with Ramses XII, owned by Finnish International rider Nina Dunder, while the third section went to Gloucestershire-based Maria Griffin and DJ, who enjoyed a convincing win and were the only combination to score over 70% in their class.
One of the two remaining PSG classes was won by Hickstead regular Mette Assouline with Royal Tea—Assouline narrowly beat herself into second place with Ad-Ratino. The other was won by British-based, Swedish Young Rider Victoria Appleyard and Sir Willy, who train with Adam Kemp and Matt Frost and were members of last year’s Swedish team at the YR European championships.
A record number of 39 para competitors faced off at Hickstead in a bid for the 2015 British Para Dressage Championship, and it was British Para team rider and gold medallist Natasha Baker who came up trumps. It was a first national championship title for Natasha, who rode her next Olympic hopeful, Sookie St James, to win the freestyle and both Grade II individual and team tests. Sookie, a seven-year-old Oldenburg mare, was bought for Natasha two-years ago by FEI judge Christian Landolt.
The next Premier League show takes place at Hartpury College (July 8-12) hosts and is part of their Festival of Dressage, which incorporates the Hartpury CDI3* and international Paralympic competition (CPEDI3*).
Image courtesy of Maximilian Schreiner