Mette Dahl's British Junior Team Ride Florina Passed Away

Mon, 12/20/2021 - 10:40
Great Britain
Mette Dahl and Florina at the 2021 European Junior Riders Championships in Oliva Nova, Spain :: Photo © Astrid Appels

Fiona Bigwood's Hanoverian mare Florina, which was campaigned by her daughter Mette Dahl on the British junior rider team, has passed away. 

Florina was an 11-year old Hanoverian mare by Furst Romancier out of Donna del Mondo (by Donnerhall). She was bred by Walter Droege in Germany.

Decorated Youngster

Florina made headlines from the start of her career. As a 3-year old she won the 2013 German Elite Mare championship. 

Under Claudia Ruscher the dark bay mare came back into the spotlight this year. She won the Bundeschampionate qualifier in Wipperfurth and obtained a spot on the German team for the 2015 World Young Horse Championships in Verden, Germany.

At the World Championships Florina finished 18th in the preliminary round with 8.52, but then won the consolation round with 9.06.  In the Finals she finished fourth with an 8.82 total. One month later the mare also placed fourth at the 2015 Bundeschampionate in Warendorf, Germany.

In October 2015 she sold to Danish horse dealer Andreas Helgstrand

Sold to Bigwood

It took Helgstrand a year and a half to sell Florina to a forever home at Fiona Bigwood's in the U.K. In the spring of 2017 the sale was announced

The dark bay mare was first competed in the U.K. by Bigwood at Medium level in April 2017. A year later her husband Anders Dahl took over the ride at shows and presented her in her first FEI level CDI competition at 2019 CDI Keysoe, where they were second in the small tour.

Mette Dahl

As of the spring of 2019 their daughter Mette Dahl began showing the mare, first at the local show Step Aside Dressage at E-level, and in 2020 they moved up to Advanced Medium and by 2021 they were doing junior riders' level.

Mette and Florina
Mette made her international show debut on Florina at the 2021 CDI Wellington Heckfield, placing fourth in the team test and second in the freestyle. 

They were selected on the British team for the 2021 European Junior Riders Championships in Oliva Nova, Spain, where they landed 62nd place in the team test. The horse was pulled from further competition in Spain the next day. 

Two months later, Dahl and Florina competed at the British National Dressage Championship in this Mixed Youth Division (JR/YR) and placed third with 68.48%. It was their last show together. 

Untimely Passing

Unfortunately, on 19 December 2021 the lovely Florina sustained a career ending injury and had to be put to sleep.

"I am absolutely devastated to say that tragically Flo had to be put down yesterday morning after a freak accident whilst turned out in a sand paddock," Mette explained. " Flo has given me so much and I will always remember this special mare; I am so thankful for everything she has done for me. She took me to my first affiliated show, my first junior international and then to my first Europeans. I always ended up smiling when I was with her and I will be forever grateful for that. So all I have to say is thank you Flo for everything you have done and you will be missed by all of us. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you."

Photo © Astrid Appels

Related Links
Fiona Bigwood Acquires Fidelio van het Bloemenhof and Florina
Andreas Helgstrand Acquires Florina
Hedda Droege: Homebred Dressage Horses from Youngster up to Grand Prix