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Hawtins San Floriana returns to the ring underneath Charlotte Dujardin

  • Hawtins San Floriana made her first competitive appearance in three years with Charlotte Dujardin. The elegant 10-year-old mare claimed convincing victories at advanced medium and prix st georges (PSG) at the Hartpury Premier League, part of the NAF Five Star Hartpury Festival of Dressage.

    The precocious San Amour mare, whom Charlotte owns along with Carl Hester, enjoyed a stellar early career, winning national titles at novice, elementary and medium, as well as in age finals, then had some time out for breeding at Hawtins Stud.

    At this, her first competition since July 2019, she not only won at advanced medium with over 78% but also topped her first ever PSG.

    “I think she’d only done a handful, if that, of advanced mediums so I was really happy with her,” said Charlotte. “She got quite hot in the canter work, had a few little blips, but all in all, I was really happy. And then she did a really lovely, super advanced medium.”

    As well as her wins with Hawtins San Floriana, Charlotte Dujardin also took the young horse PSG title with her own Alive And Kicking, though she had to withdraw her top horse Imhotep from the CDI3*.

    While Charlotte is certainly no stranger to Premier League titles, it was a first for 14-year-old Ruby Hughes, as she took a PSG win on Extra Time (Hughie), the 13-year-old gelding owned by Lucy Amy on whom Ruby took the ride last year. 

    “Hughie is something else,” said Ruby. “He was impeccably well behaved as usual and I can’t believe we have done this together.”

    ‘The plan is to campaign him for Paris’

    Andrew Gould made a winning grand prix debut on the talented stallion Indigro, who he bought with the Paris Olympics in mind. 

    The pair have only been together for three months, since he was bought from the Netherlands for Andrew by Max and Tatiana Skillman, and here the nine-year-old Negro stallion posted 73.46%. 

    “He is so honest and genuine. Around the arena he felt amazing, and I got the sense that he would be on board. I had a brilliant ride,” said Andrew. “He finds all the work relatively easy but he lacks the experience as he hasn’t done a lot of shows since he was six. He’s very capable but there is a big difference between knowing it and stringing it all together. I didn’t know what he is like in an atmosphere, but he seems to grow when he goes in the ring so he’s better in there than in the warm-up.”

    The stunning black stallion, who was used for breeding as a youngster but will now focus solely on sport, does not appear to have a weakness, with a particular talent for piaffe-passage and the pirouettes. 

    “He’s got everything; that’s why we bought him. We had been looking for quite a while to find something, and when we went to see him he was by far the nicest, most genuine horse I had tried,” said Andrew. “The plan is to campaign him for Paris, for teams, so next year he will have to go out internationally and perform.”

    Andrew also finished second in Wednesday’s inter II with Indigro, behind Gloucestershire-based German rider Kathleen Kröncke riding Uniteds Maerchen, a 12-year-old United mare who Kathleen bought shortly before relocating to the UK in 2020. They were third in the following day’s grand prix, with Anna Ross and Habouche slotting into second between Andrew and Kathleen.

    This was only Kathleen and Uniteds Maerchen’s fourth show together.

    “She is still green but she is improving at every show and getting stronger and better,” said Kathleen. “She’s a really cute mare.”

    Dylan steps up

    Alice Oppenheimer and the 11-year-old “pocket rocket” Headmore Dionysius (Dylan) were second into the arena in Sunday’s inter II and set an unassailable lead to win on 69.76%.

    “Today was only his third go at inter II,” said Alice of Amanda Radford’s 15.3hh Dimaggio son, out of the Oppenheimers’ late, great broodmare Rubinsteena. “He has so much talent and ability. 

    “We need to occupy his brain. He might only be 16hh when he’s lit up, but as far as Dylan is concerned, he is the absolute man and knows everything all the time. He is a real little show-off. So the inter II makes him think, ‘This is a bit different,’ and it’s helped him listen a bit more to what I’m asking him to do.” 

    Lucinda Elliott continued her run of form with Hawtins Duchessa, claiming an inter I win with the 11-year-old Decamerone mare. 

    “She was feeling the heat a bit but we had a nice test with no major mistakes,” said Lucinda of the mare she described as “the queen of the yard”. “She knows she’s special and she loves to show off. You can really feel it when you ride her; she has this extravagant trot and canter, and she’s very brave too, and never spooky.”

    Decamerone had another inter I winner in the shape of Fiona Brennan’s De Angelis II, while mares dominated at advanced medium. Becky Edwards took a win on Blue Hors Zack daughter Laerke Stensvang, and Rob Barker proved Christine Kirk’s seven-year-old Herbstrot is one to watch by achieving a 74.08% advanced medium victory. The pair were also third in a second advanced medium, behind Hawtins San Floriana and Charlotte Dujardin in first and Davey Harvey on Diamond Blue in second.

    Rob has had “Herbie” for 18 months, but after six months out as Rob underwent surgery on his leg, the pair are still working on building their partnership. 

    “She is getting better every time out, and really I’m still just nursing her round,” he said. “She’s a really cool mare, with quite a hot temperament but very talented. I have a lot of chestnut mares and I’m always trying to defy the stamp they get but she does fit into it – she’s rather spicy.”

    The Premier League also hosted youth classes at every level. Sofia Games and Steendieks Cadillac came out on top on the ponies, as the only ones in the field of 15 to break the 70% barrier, scoring 71.19% for the win. Violet Hawkins topped the children’s class with DZL Royal Sunrise, while Sophia Marston and E-Mail won in the junior ranks. Meanwhile Charlotte McDowell rode M Obarma to claim young rider victory.

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