On the Friday 12-year-old Annabella Pidgley rode a first class test to gain victory in the TopSpec Medium Silver at her first ever National Championships. Berkshire-based Annabella, rode her German Riding Pony, Farbenfroh to impress the judges for a score of 70.51%, the sole combination to break the 70% barrier.
“It feels amazing, I’m so happy to be here let alone win,” said Annabella. “I am so shocked!”
The 14-year-old gelding, who is owned by Annabella’s mum Sarah, has developed a formidable partnership with his young rider, finishing in the top three at every outing since mid-January.
A highlight in their career so far was when Annabella and ‘Farbi’ won at the Hickstead CDI at the end of July scoring a hat-trick in the FEI Pony divisions.
Farbi first caught the eye of the Pidgley family at the Pony European Championships in Malmo, Sweden in 2015, where he was on the team for Denmark and won Freestyle Bronze.
In a twist of fate, the gorgeous Farbi was acquired later by the family, when another pony they wanted had been sold.
“We loved everything about him,” said Annabella.
In the TopSpec Medium Gold Championship it was the turn of dressage maestro Charlotte Dujardin to turn up the tempo once again when taking the top three places.
The first of Charlotte’s three rides was her own six year old Gio, or Pumpkin as Charlotte calls him, scoring 73.38% to give his rider an early lead in the class.
It was then the turn of Mount St John VIP. The Vivaldi-sired six-year-old mare had just competed in the Shearwater Insurance Young Horse preliminary judging so was ‘ring ready’ and it clearly gave her the confidence to perform to her potential as the judges were bowled over to award 77.73% taking over the lead.
The final horse of the class was Sarah Tyler-Evans’ River Rise Nisa, or Nancy, another aged just six. It was a clean test for the Negro mare who just couldn’t match the power of VIP with a score of 74.95% putting her into second.
“A good day!” said Charlotte. “VIP was really good and very easy; she’s just like clockwork. I think she was better for doing the young horse test first, it really set her up well. I love how trainable she is and how easy she finds the work.
“I’m also really pleased with Nancy. She was here last year as a five-year-old and was quite green so to come here a year on and be second in the Medium is great. She’s certainly one for the future at Grand Prix level, I think as she’s hot, but very willing.
“And dear Pumpkin Pie. He’s like my little sports car; so much fun and really easy. His medium trot is still his weakness but once we’ve mastered that, we’ll be flying.”