Lara Butler and Rubin Al Asad have been crowned the 2018 LeMieux National Dressage Champions.
‘Long time coming’
The pair has a long history as reserves – having been on the reserve list for Rio 2016, the 2017 Europeans and this year’s World Equestrian Games. They were also reserve champions at the Nationals in 2017 and 2013, so it was great to see them finally take the top spot.
“It’s been a long time coming!” said Lara. “I’ve tried three or four times and been reserve a couple of times too!”
Lara and ‘Rufus’ were second in the Grand Prix behind Gareth Hughes and Classic Briolinca, and went on to win the Grand Prix Freestyle to Music. Second place went to last year’s overall champions Hayley Watson-Greaves and Rubins Nite.
Gareth was the favourite in the Freestyle, but had to retire when Classic Briolinca struggled to cope with the electric atmosphere.
Lara’s routine including tracks from Dire Straits, which perfectly showed off the 16-year-old gelding’s flowing trot half passes, punchy extended trots and neat double pirouettes.
“It’s so nice to finish off the outdoor season here and to prove that we’re such a strong partnership is great, I couldn’t ask for any more,” said Lara. “We’ll have another shot at the team next year, he feels so fit and fresh and he keeps getting better.”
You can watch highlights of both the Grand Prix and Freestyle to Music on Horse & Country.
British National Dressage Champs 2018: Grand Prix premieres on 9 October at 8pm
British National Dressage Champs 2018: Freestyle to Music premieres on 10 October at 8pm