Hans Peter Minderhoud has won the Grand Prix at Olympia, beating Charlotte Dujardin into second place by just 0.86%.
Charlotte was riding Carl Hester’s World Equestrian Games bronze medallist Hawtins Delicato, as her top ride Mount St John Freestyle is recovering from a cough.
The pair set the standard of 73.03%, but Dutch rider Hans Peter piped them to the post with a score of 73.89%.
“I didn’t have the chance to watch anyone ride through the test and ‘Del’ has never been to an indoor show like this, so I was pleased with him,” said Charlotte.
Germany’s Frederic Wandres and Duke of Britain were third with 72.63%, ahead of Hayley Watson-Greaves and Rubins Nite on 71.52%.
As Charlotte and ‘Del’ were first to go, they were the first ever combination to ride the newly designed Grand Prix. The revamp requires riders to dismount after the test, so they can be interviewed in the arena before the judges scores are revealed.
“Getting off the horse in the arena and having an interview straight away took me back a bit, but it was great to have the support of the crowd,” said Charlotte.
British judge Stephen Clarke admitted the new, shortened test was “quite difficult” as the movements come up quickly.
“It is undoubtedly easier to judge than ride,” he said. “But the evening as a whole was great. There was a good crowd and you could really feel the interest and enthusiasm – it was a good evening for the sport.”
All 12 competitors in the Grand Prix go forward to the FEI Dressage World Cup Freestyle.
Don’t miss FEI Dressage World Cup 18/19: Olympia when it premieres on Horse & Country on 22 December at 7pm.