Special victory completes clean sweep for Carl Hester

Carl Hester was the favourite to win the CDI3* Grand Prix Special at the I.C.E Horseboxes All England Dressage Festival, and he duly delivered with a superb win on new ride Fame.

Special victory completes clean sweep for Carl Hester

Carl Hester won three Grand Prix titles at the I.C.E. Horseboxes All England Dressage Festival  (c) Elli Birch/Boots and Hooves Photography 

It made it a treble of Grand Prix victories for the Gloucestershire-based Olympian, having already won the Saturday's Grand Prix with Fame, as well as the LeMieux Premier League FEI Grand Prix with En Vogue.

In a repeat of Saturday’s results, Carl took the win with 75.468%, ahead of Laura Tomlinson and DSP Rose of Bavaria on 69.979%.

“It's always nice to have a horse that you know when it's good, it's really good,” said Carl. “There were a few mistakes there as well today, but it’s all a learning curve, I’m just finding my way around with him.”

Carl describes the 13-year-old gelding's character as a ‘bit spicy!’ but he was pleased with how he felt on the final day of competition. “I was really pleased with his relaxation today because it’s quite a daunting arena for horses, as they have to leave all the other horses and come down here to do their test. I was really pleased with his attitude today.”

It was a British top three in the CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle to Music, sponsored by Horse & Country, with Becky Moody taking the win on Jagerbomb with a score of 75.710%. The nine-year-old is in his first season competing at Big Tour, having been a prolific winner as he’s moved up through the levels to Grand Prix.

Close on their heels was last year’s Grand Prix Special winner Andrew Gould, who scored 75.215 with Indigro to take second place, while Louise Bell was third with Into The Blue. Louise and Into The Blue are no strangers to success at Hickstead, with the eyecatching roan being the youngest horse to ever win the Supreme Working Hunter title at the Royal International, before his switch to dressage.

British-based Kathleen Kroencke (GER) and her 13-year-old mare Uniteds Maerchen were victorious in the I.C.E Horseboxes Premier League FEI Grand Prix Special. They scored 69.878 to take the win ahead of Britain’s Alice Oppenheimer and Headmore Dionysus (69.255).

“I'm super pleased with my mare. I could feel she was a bit tired from yesterday but she really fought for me and did no big mistakes,” said Kathleen, who moved over to the UK three years ago and is now based in the Cotswolds. “My mare had her debut in the Grand Prix here at Hickstead last year and today it was her debut in the Special, so it's quite a special show for the two of us as a combination,” she added.

After their win in Friday’s Premier League Prix St Georges, Alexander Harrison and Kickback were back at the top of the leaderboard in the Saracen Horse Feeds Premier League FEI Intermediate I.

In the Bret Wilson Premier League Advanced Medium 98, Davy Harvey and Diamond Blue secured a win with a score of 73.947 to go nearly 4% clear of the rest of the field. The Fairfax Saddles Premier League FEI Prix St Georges resulted in perhaps the closest competition of the whole show, with winner Olivia Oakley (Full House), runner-up Judy Harvey (SP Bento) and third-placed Fiona Brennan (Gestion) all scoring within 0.2% of each other.

Jessica McConkey had a double of wins on the final day of the show. Riding Wilson Stensvang she finished top of the leaderboard in the Fairfax Saddles Premier League FEI Prix St Georges, ahead of local rider Sarah Millis and Ferrari V; and in the Young Rider Team Test Jessica won on board Lady Gaga II.

Mette Dahl and Sir Dinato rounded off a brilliant week with a win in the Under-25 Grand Prix Test, with Ella Glennon (Amden Supreme Golden Dancer) winning the Pony Test and Sophie Wallace (First Light) taking the Junior Team Test.

Having won the first senior international class of the week, Sadie Smith and Swanmore Dantina finished their Hickstead campaign with a victory in the Horse & Country CDI1* Intermediate I. "I love it here at Hickstead, the atmosphere is great. Yesterday watching the Grand Prix, everybody was sitting on the banks enjoying it, and it's how every show in England should be."  

For full results click here.