Step Aside (Belmoredean) 29 June
Featuring riders Hollie Lewis, Carolyn Butler, Caroline Eaton, Elaine Wilson, Harriet Mercer, Rowan Bryson, Charlotte Blain, Nicola Rapley, Hannah Powel, Suzanne Lavandera, Ed Creamer and Caroline Exley

LUSITANOS ridden by Hollie Lewis and Carolyn Butler held the top spot in both the gold and silver sections of the 11 combinations-strong FEI pick your own. Both horses are in ‘training’. Hollie is training gold winner Canhoto Laranjeira in the correct way of going and acceptance of contact to become Carolyn’s future grand prix ride — and Carolyn’s husband Robin’s Zelador is schooling Carolyn in the lightness of aids that she will need when she takes over.

Carolyn, with her PSG just 0.4% behind Hollie's 68.16% inter I, explained: “Canhoto’s not a stroll in the park yet and very green. When he arrived from Portugal two years ago it was almost impossible to make him walk and he couldn’t concentrate for more than half a second." The nine-year-old Canhoto is a highly reactive ride, unlike her first Lusitano and first dressage horse Xerife who over the past six years has enabled her to go from elementary to winning at small tour. But Carolyn explained: “Xerife is so lazy I have to do a lot of everything, if I was to over-ride Zelador he would probably fall over! He’s teaching me to stay very quiet and use light aids.”

Caroline Eaton is also working towards a grand prix goal, with her immediate aim being to qualify for the European Iberian Dressage Masters (MCI) championships in Paris in the late autumn. She has been riding Lusitano stallion Neve vip (pronounced Nevé) in Premier League small tour this season. At Belmoredean they went hors concors in the rider’s first-ever Intermediate B, scoring over 66% from List 1 judge Sally Merrison.

Caroline said: “I was not well- prepared for the test, but I decided to have a go anyway as a run-through for the Lusitano Breed Show MCI qualifier at Moreton Morrell at the weekend. [Christian Landolt who judged the MCI qualifier, Caroline later reported, was tough but gave an insight into the standard that can be expected in Paris: "It was a wake-up call. You can’t be mediocre, you’ve got to be good at everything.”]

Neve is well-used to the international stage — a couple of years ago he was in the same class at Hartpury as Nip Tuck and Valegro! See 'Thank you Eva Klautke for my world class Luso'

PYO bronze winners Elaine Wilson and Ebabelou scored a very creditable 65.66% on only their second attempt at PSG. Elaine and eight-year-old Balou looked in a hurry in the warm-up. She explained: “She can drop off the leg very quickly so I was trying a new way of warming up. When I’ve got her a bit sharper, I can collect her and have her better off the aid.”

The former horse trials rider started competing her Indorado x Indoctro (show jump-bred) mare at Novice in November 2015, qualifying in just two outings for regionals. Elaine said: “I feel a bit guilty because she has come up the levels so quickly. She has a lovely temperament and copes with it but she's a big girl and needs to get stronger.”

Elaine trains with Jezz Palmer, formerly based at Paul Friday’s Warwickshire yard, recently returned to his home county of Hampshire. Elaine, the ‘galloping granny’ said: “The nice thing about Jezz is that he teaches me like I’m still 16: he’s not shy about pointing out if there’s something wrong with me, my riding, or the horse.”

It was a day for ‘greys’ to sparkle. One of them was Harriet Mercer’s cob Moody Blue, clearly relishing his higher education. Harriet and Blue’s mission that day was to step up to advanced and they scored 64.06% for their first ever Advanced 100 in a pick you own class.

Harriet said: “I was thrilled because we actually got a clean, properly through change for the first time. Because of his conformation he finds changes quite hard and will go croup high but he always tries and he loves his work.” Harriet spent almost her entire warm-up session riding shoulder-in and travers to help the horse with suppleness through the back and with engagement. She added: “He’s not as confident as you might think and his nerves mean he needs to go back on the lorry for a pee before he does his test. This time he wouldn’t and I could feel he was holding himself.

“Jane Cannon my trainer has been fantastic helping us to be able to get changes. They are good at home and the day before Belmoredean he worked so much better, so now we just have to work out his show warm-up routine and how long he needs to be on the lorry to get comfortable."

"We never thought Moody Blue would get to advanced medium and we take each day at a time but we are now hoping that we might be able to get him to PSG. That’s my dream"

Several horses at the show were perfecting their new advanced medium show performances. Rowan Bryson who has ridden just five, won the silver section advanced medium 98 qualifier scoring 68.68%, following a 69.59% medium 75 warm-up. Rowan commented: “‘Larry’ used to be a bit behind the leg, but I can jazz him up now and get him quite hot. The changes have helped [the impulsion] but they’re not always spot on. When I first started doing them he used to leap into the air, change, then come down on to my hand, then chuck his head in the air. The solution has been to ensure that I don’t contain him too much when he leaps. The changes have improved since he’s become stronger and more confident. He’s also working through his back better and allowing me to sit into him more in a bigger trot, rather than shortening and passaging.”

Pip Blain and Jan Palmer’s 11-year-old Donatella IV got to the recent Pachesham Area Festival with just two advanced medium sheets to their names and won their class, but Pip said: “I wasn’t expecting such good scores at Belmoredean today. ‘Roo’ hasn’t been here for well over a year and it’s one of the places where she’s been a bit nervous, so I did an 85 first to test the water. My aim was to ride a test 98 for the first time and I was expecting around 64% but we won bronze sections in both classes with over 67%.

“Our 98 wasn’t without mistakes. We had a giant miscommunication in the walk

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