Nine of Britain’s best dressage Small Tour combinations competed in this week’s inaugural Inter I Freestyle Invitational, supported by Equitop Myoplast, at the Liverpool International Horse Show. It proved to be a fitting finale to the Festive Season when the eagerly awaited debut of Carl Hester and his Tokyo prospect Hawtins Delicato proved to be a winning one.
Drawn last to go under the late night lights of the Echo Arena, Carl and the British bred ‘Del’, by Diamond Hit, wowed the crowds with a performance bursting with promise. It’s the first time they’ve shown together as the nine year old has been lightly competed so far by Charlotte Dujardin. Judges Peter Storr (C) and Stephen Clarke (E) were suitably impressed and awarded the duo 80.5% with both judges awarding eight for difficulty – quite a score for a young horse.
Reflecting on Hawtins Delicato’s performance, Carl commented: “It was the first time I had ridden him in a competition. I have been part of his life for four years, and for next year we are trying to qualify him for the World Games.
“My horse is very talented at the Grand Prix movements – that’s where his future lies – and these sort of shows are about preparing them mentally and getting used to the atmosphere.”
Third spot went to ‘local rider’ and UKCC Level 3 coach Sarah Higgins from Cheshire and the 13 year old Waldessarini, owned by Sarah Rao, on 73.75%, who was clearly thrilled to be sharing a podium with two Olympians.
Carl was clearly impressed with the latest top class venue and show to host dressage saying:”It is an absolutely superb show. I had never even been to Liverpool, let alone the show. It’s such a spectacular place – the arena is incredible.
“I didn’t think that Olympia (London International Horse Show) would ever be matched for an atmosphere, but I think we can honestly say that this event was also an awesome occasion. It was great to see so many children in the audience, especially.
“This is a huge atmosphere for dressage horses at Liverpool. Jumping horses can go in these sort of atmospheres all the time, but it’s so difficult to get exposure for these young up and coming horses for their future, so it has been an amazing experience to have both my horse and Charlotte’s horse at Liverpool.”