With all eyes on Tokyo, the young but talented Lottie Fry is a very real contender for the British dressage
The 26-year-old is based at Anne and Gertjan Van Olst’s Netherlands facility and is quick to credit her long-standing employers and backers for the opportunities she has to build partnerships with horsepower “on another level” and compete these stars for Britain.
Her top grand prix rides need little introduction, headed by her stunning double world gold medal-winning ride Glamourdale and Olympic team silver medallist Everdale. And there are a host of rising stars waiting in the wings.
Lottie presents these on a tour of the peaceful barns. The dapple grey head of Especial (pictured, above) – an eight-year-old Everdale gelding, out of a Vivaldi mare, who is on the cusp of grand prix – stands out among the many black stallions.
“He’s still quite young,” says Lottie, explaining the grey recently scored +70% at his first inter II and is stepping up to grand prix for experience “because he plays with all those difficult movements so easily”.
“He loves to work and he gets his energy from Everdale. He’s really fun to train. [The step up to grand prix] is more just for fun than to be really competitive with him this year.”
Further along the same row, Lottie points out the sweet-faced Nalegro, a close relative of Charlotte Dujardin’s masterpiece Valegro.
The four-year-old KWPN-approved stallion, by Painted Black, is out of Valegro’s full sister Jalegrofleur.
“He’s really exciting, has three great paces and is also really trainable,” Lottie adds. “He’s definitely going to be one to watch the future.”
The three-year-old Secret Lover, a KWPN-approved stallion by Secret and out of a Furstenball mare, is another Lottie points out as a star in the making. He welcomes cuddles from his rider, as she affectionately wipes his breakfast off his face. She explains it is his attitude and character that makes him stand out as one to watch.
“You can already see in his work that he likes to show off,” she says. “As we’ve seen with Glamourdale, it’s so important that when they go into the arena, they want to show off for you and that they love to work.
“If it’s going to come down to 0.001 of a mark between gold and silver, then you’re going to want the horse that really fights for you, wants to do it, wants to show off and loves those atmospheres. That’s the feeling that I get already from Secret Lover – from his character, his brain and his trainability.
“He also has really great movement. He has a canter like Glamourdale and he’s also beautiful and black, which helps and he’s just so sweet. He is the whole package, which is what really stands out for me.”
We pass the grass turn-out paddocks and an all-weather sand turn-out area, complete with a horse football which the stallions “love” to play with, and into a second aisle. Here Negro – glossy and bright-eyed at 27 years old – awaits his visitors.
“He has a good life, he is breeding and goes out in the field every day,” says Anne, of the evergreen super sire.
Two stables down is one of his high-flying sons, the six- and seven-year-old young horse world champion Kjento (pictured, below). Next on the plan for him is preparation for the step up to small tour.
“He doesn’t need a lot of competition exposure because he is so good in the ring, and he loves the big competitions, so there’s no need to kind of take him out too much at the moment,” says Lottie.
Lottie will be competing one of her grand prix rides at the London International Horse Show (15 to 19 December), for which she is an ambassador. She will also be bringing one of her younger rides over to the UK for the “Dressage Unwrapped” masterclass on the Thursday of the show.
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Credit: Alamy Stock Photo
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