Mount St John Freestyle lived up to her name, winning the Al Shira’aa Grand Prix Freestyle to Music at the 2018 CDI Windsor Invitational on Friday 11 May 2018. Ridden by Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin, the pair ran away with the victory and was the only one of the 12 combinations to break the 80% barrier with a score of 81.2%.
The nine-year-old mare (by Fidermark x Donnerhall x Ataturk) produced a confident programme that made the most of her off-the-floor paces, impressive passage and extensions.
“That was only her second freestyle and it’s not something we practice at home so I am really happy. Everything she does, she does so well and I can’t ask for more, especially at this stage,” said Charlotte who rode the programme to the music ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ that was originally made for Valegro. “It was Valegro’s very first music and brings back many memories and always gives me goosebumps – and I just love riding to it.”
Carl Hester also chose to introduce Hawtins Delicato to freestyle using a former successful programme, originally used for his Olympic team gold medal horse, Uthopia. Delicato, like Freestyle, however also looked at ease performing to music.
“He felt much more rideable tonight,” said Carl who bought the British-bred gelding as a four-year-old from breeder Judith Davies, and has since bought a sibling. “He is a very exciting horse and at this stage just needs nursing along."
Former British team rider Gareth Hughes finished one better tonight to make the top three with Don Carissimo and was ‘over the moon’ with the outcome. “That is only his second outing this year and was a whole lot better than the first – he is a real trier,” said Gareth.
Once again the five British riders took the first five places, with British-based Dane Ulrik Moelgaard and Michigan completing the top six.
Photos © Risto Aaltonen