The Brits had a successful final dance in the Europeans freestyle, with Lottie Fry beating her personal best and Charlotte Dujardin earning another bronze medal
After Britain’s team silver success earlier on in the week, the final day of senior competition (Saturday 11 September) at the FEI European Dressage Championships saw the top 15 riders battle it out for freestyle glory. Always a spectacle to behold, the gold medal went to the test to break the 90% barrier – for Germany’s Olympic double and now European triple gold medal-winning duo Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB – while Charlotte Dujardin added a second individual bronze medal to her summer championship tally. Lottie Fry and Everdale continued their flying form to score another personal best, while unfortunately it just wasn’t the day for Carl Hester and En Vogue.
After a demanding six weeks, Carl Hester entered the ring for his final freestyle test. Cantering up the centre line with ants in his pants, En Vogue put in a spritely performance to the original Tom Hunt music they performed to at the Tokyo Olympics. Giving Carl a whirlwind ride, En Vogue’s mischievous mood prevented them from accessing the highest marks, leaving them with a final score of 78.375%. Speaking afterwards, Carl said: “It’s a difficult test and he has to be relaxed, and he just wasn’t today. He did the best he could, considering how he was feeling.”
Next in was Charlotte Dujardin. Playing to her strengths, the freestyle is typically where she shines, and this test was no exception. Meaning business with Gio and riding off their success at the Olympic Games, the small but mighty chestnut gelding entered the arena to the music of their bronze medal performance. The pair moved seamlessly from passage half-pass into an enormous trot half-pass that ate up the ground, followed by an extended canter at full stretch into the ultimate collection of a pirouette – it was a test packed full of challenging moves. The only blip was a slight miss in the one-time changes, which stopped the score matching the levels of Tokyo, but it still achieved a massive 87.246%. This put Charlotte and Gio into the provisional lead, but there were still four combinations to go. “It’s been great. I haven’t pushed him that hard all week, I thought I’d save him, and we really tried for everything today. I’m so, so happy with him, he’s brilliant,” said Charlotte.
Very last to go was Lottie Fry and Everdale, and with three top tier performances preceding hers, the pressure was on. Set to music from Whitney Houston and Rihanna, the floorplan played to Everdale’s strengths and was full of power and poise. Everything fell into place for this pair, earning them a final score was 84.721% – a new personal best by over two percent. A delighted Lottie said: “He was amazing in there – he was really focused and just enjoying his music.”
The final scores confirmed that Charlotte and Gio had taken bronze – a fourth championship medal this year and Charlotte’s 20th championship medal in total at Grand Prix level. Jessica von Bredow-Werndl completed an outstanding golden hattrick and secured her place as Germany’s number one rider with TSF Dalera BB with a score of 91.021%. The silver went to Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour with a score of 88.436%. Lottie and Everdale finished in fifth, while Carl and En Vogue were in 13th place.
- Germany’s Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB – 91.021%
- Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour and Bohemian – 88.436%
- Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Gio – 87.246%
- Germany’s Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD – 84.896%
- Britain’s Lottie Fry and Everdale – 84.721%
- Henri Ruoste and Konestro Dd – 82.600%
- Denmark’s Daniel Backmann Andersen and Marshall-bell – 82.050%
- Sweden’s Therese Nilshagen and Dante Weltino Old – 81.325%
- Sweden’s Juliette Ramel and Buriel K.h. – 80.175%
- Netherlands’ Dinja Van Liere and Haute Couture – 79.668%