Tuesday, 05 April 2022
Britain’s sole dressage representative in Leipzig is Charlotte ‘Lottie’ Fry, who makes her first World Cup Final appearance with Dark Legend – the horse she piloted to second place at the London leg of the series in December and with whom she sits 15th in the FEI world rankings.
It has been a whirlwind 12-months for Netherlands-based Lottie, who originally hails from Yorkshire – she made her Olympic debut in Tokyo, winning team bronze, then taking her first team European medal just weeks later, both with the black stallion Everdale. Somehow, amongst all that, she found time to take the Six-Year-Old World Championship with Kjento – another of Van Olst Horses’ rising stars and a huge asset to Lottie’s enviable string of talented stallions that she rides in her role as their stable jockey.
While Dark Legend, a 14-year-old gelding owned by Lottie and Van Olst Horses, might not have the extravagant movement of many of Lottie’s other rides, he makes up for it in his consistently pleasing way go going . The pair’s trending scores had them in the lead throughout the trot work, ahead of current leaders Nanna Skodborg Merrald and Atterupgaards Orthilia of Denmark, but tension crept in during the canter work and the scores dropped accordingly – especially after a small error in the one-time changes. However, Lottie didn’t let it phase her, and she held the sensitive gelding together to complete the test for a final score of 73.365%.
One of the real pleasures in watching Lottie ride is the obvious affection she has for her horses, and never is a test completed without a big smile and effusive pats for her dancing partner. While today’s performance might have fallen short of their Short Grand Prix personal best of 76.447% – achieved last month at the World Cup leg in ‘s-Hertogenbosch – Lottie was clearly pleased with Dark Legend’s performance. The pair slotted into second place going into the first break.
It was probably a surprise to nobody when Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and her super-mare TSF Dalera BB – current team and individual Olympic and European champions – took the top spot in tonight’s proceedings with a huge score of 84.793%. Jessica is currently pregnant with her second child, who is due in August, meaning she will likely miss this summer’s World Championship.
Second place was taken by Cathrine Dufour and her exciting 10-year-old gelding Vamos Amigos – the second youngest horse in the field. They achieved a personal best of 80.019%, which promises an exciting future for their partnership.
Isobel Werth and Weihegold OLD have come to Leipzig in an attempt to take a historic consecutive fourth World Cup title – made even more emotional by the fact that Isobel has already announced that this show is to be the stylish black mare’s swan song, and she will be officially retired after the Grand Prix Freestyle on Saturday. That didn’t stop them scoring a personal best of 79.756% to take third place.
Lottie and Dark Legend finish the day in eighth place, which will set them up well for the Freestyle.
All 17 combinations will return for the Grand Prix Freestyle on Saturday. Coverage starts at 18:10 BST and is available on FEI.TV via ClipMyHorse.TV.
All start lists and results for the FEI World Cup Final series are available here.