Sixteen years after riding her last international Grand Prix test, Canadian professional dressage rider Leonie Bramall has made her return to the CDI arena at the highest level. At the 2023 CDI Olomouc in Czechia, Bramall piloted the home bred Cricket BD to a fourth place in the Grand Prix and a victory in the Special.
The Canadian born Bramall began her riding career as a child interested in anything horses. She was actually keen to do three eventing, but ended up developing a passion for dressage. She was member of the gold and silver medal winning teal at the 1981 and 1982 North American Young Riders Championships.
At age 18 she decided to move to Germany to train with Canadian team trainer Johann Hinnemann and never left. For 15 years Bramall was the head rider in the barn and competed horses such as White Star, Beltain, Wunschtraum, Fosbury, Inspekteur, Relevant, Rohdiamant, Don Gregory, and Boticello, amongst many others.
Her career making dressage horse was the Oldenburg mare Gilbona (by Grundstein). They were nominated on the Canadian team for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona but the mare failed the vet check there.
Two years later they had their moment when they rode down the centerline at the 1994 World Equestrian Games in The Hague (39th) and their Olympic debut followed at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta (29th).
On the Move
In 2001 Leonie left Hinnemann and moved to Gestut Bonhomme in Bramsche, where she became head rider for one year. In 2002 she and partner Volker Dussche settled at Gestüt Mühlenort in Isernhagen and calls this their home. The couple trains and sells horses and coaches students.
Bramall has produced and competed an uncountable number of horses across the levels in Germany, but only in 2007 she returned to the international arena after a big gap since her days on Gilbona. Aboard Burkhardt Linse's Holsteiner bred Look Who's Here (by Landgraf x Romino) she competed at CDI's in Bremen, Braunschweig, Dortmund, Hagen and finally in Verden in August 2007 as her last CDI at Grand Prix level.
The now 59-year old Leonie made a brief return to the international stage, first in 2012 with Uta Eltges' 6-year old Richthofen (by Royal Blend x Wolkentanz) at the World Young Horse Championships in Verden (5th in the consolation) and in 2021 with Cord Gaus' 6-year old Fleur de Vie (by Fidertanz x Sandro Hit) also at the WCYH in Verden (16th in the consolation final).
With Cricket BD at the CDI Olomouc
So after sixteen years away from international Grand Prix level, the moment finally came at the CDI Olomouc last weekend, where the now 59-year old Leonie steered the home bred, 11-year old Oldenburg gelding Cricket BD (by Charmeur x Don Frederico) into the Grand Prix.
"It has been a while," Leonie told Eurodressage with a wink. "Cricket had finally started to become comfortable and confident nationally here in Germany at GP level, so I decided to see what would happen at a CDI 3*. My friend and former team member Gina Smith came with her horse for three months training. She actually pushed me to take him out."
At the CDI Olomouc, the pair posted 66.935% in the Grand Prix (4th) and won the Special with 68.872%.
"Cricket definitely ticked all the boxes as far as travel and acclimatizing goes, he was great. Ate, drank and slept, came out bouncing every day," Leonie explained.
When asked if Leonie is dreaming of a second Olympics with Paris on the horizon, the rider stated, "time will tell if a Paris team spot is a realistic idea or not. Every other horse I have brought up to Grand Prix the last years was always sold. We bred Cricket ourselves and we’re finally in position to be able to keep him and maybe have for me have one last Olympics."
She continued with a smile, "I'm not getting any younger. Fortunately in dressage experience is a huge advantage."
Scores: 2023 CDI-W Olomouc
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