Merrist Wood, Surrey, 2 April
Featuring riders Georgina Howard, Sara-Jane Lanning, Jacky Stolper, Immogen Chant, Debbie Poynter, James Smith, Angela Gladding, Darren Hicks, Holly Cristofoli, Lynne Walkling and Nicola Rapley 

CAPRI gave dedicated amateur Georgina Howard “a dream ride” and judge Sue Rowlands gave the pair a 68.15% report for their PSG. Georgina said: “There weren’t any mistakes. He was on my seat, I could set him up and he let me ride every stride without having to over-ride: how lovely was that? I was so thrilled that it completely threw me for my first-ever inter I — my brain was frazzled!” Still on a high Georgina could only laugh at getting lost, so earned Brownie points for being a good loser, too.

Capri, a Blue Hors Don Caruso x Lucky Light 11-year-old, was bought from a dealer in Denmark 18 months ago, as an add-on purchase to a potential star. “My lovely groom and right-hand of six years Mel Colye said I’d got to have him and my supportive husband, Stuart, said ‘have both!’ The ‘awesome’ one nearly killed me and it went back.”

However, ‘add-on’ purchase Capri gave Georgina her first experience of competing at the Nationals last year where they competed at advanced medium. She said: “Capri was very poor and weak when we got him. He had ulcers and worms and it took several months to get him fit and well. He tries his heart out for you and it’s a joy to sit on his back. He used to look like a startled rabbit; now he’s got a soft eye and is getting a real personality instead of being robotic.”

Georgina added: “Sarah Williams has transformed my riding. I wouldn’t be able to ride such horses without the help she’s given me. She’s believed in me and given me the confidence. She calls a spade a spade. But I want to be told how it is and I want to be taught. I don’t want to be pampered.”

Another relatively new partnership, Immogen Chant and Dirty Dancing won the silver section PSG on 66.71%. The huge (around 18hh) 11-year-old by Don Frederico has wonderful elevation and cadence but his size has been a challenge for his 5ft 4in, 20-year-old rider. She explained: “When I got 'Muller' I struggled to get him in front of the leg and firing forwards so that I could ride the PSG movements. I got him in December in 2015 and we worked on getting his feeding and fitness right as well."

Immy added: “Muller has improved my riding. When I get on my smaller horses it’s a hundred times easier. He’s not the sharpest but one of my favourites to ride.  I train and am based with Denise Hallion and she’s ridden him’ a bit for me, too, so she knows how he feels and how to get him to do certain things. I was pleased with our trot work today. I felt he was going for himself and was straight off the marker into the medium. It felt easy and fluent. His flying changes are always a highlight: he really does fly those!”

James Smith of Esperanza Dressage rode Pinturero PII for the Spanish stallion's debut at PSG to win the bronze section on 64.86%. James was complimented by judge Sue Rowlands later in the secretary’s office, saying to him, “You gave me one of the best walk sequences in the class; the horse was relaxed and stayed through to the contact and in secure rhythm.”

The impressive chunky Spanish stallion endearingly looks like he wanted to offer his rider it all. James said:

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