Smooth-mover Hawtins Salento proved a hit with both his judges.
Bred by the Hawtins stud, six-year-old “Smartie” is by Sandro Hit x Belissimo M and an exciting prospect for ambitious amateur Bex Haryett. The duo won two gold elementaries at Parwood on 70.34% and 71.42%.
“One judge commented on his lovely, ground-covering canter,” said Bex. “Mediums are totally effortless for him. We’ve been working a lot on gear changes within the pace. Damian Hallam gets me to bring him back almost to a pirouette canter. It all happens from the seat; Smartie never pulls and he’s always lovely into the contact.”
Bex manages to combine a full-time job as a professional physio to the Sandhurst cadets with competing for herself and an owner. She took her previous horse, Bjornsun, to the winter championships and returned to Hartpury this year with Smartie for the young horse semi-finals.
“He was very green but he behaved impeccably,” said Bex. “His trot is not super-flashy, but the rhythm never deviates and he’s got the forwardness and elasticity for higher levels.”
Small animal vet and former eventer Rowena Gilbert has switched sports and is combining dressage with her other passion, music. She started competing Mexican Serpent (Cobra x Master Imp) in freestyles in September, gaining novice qualification with a 73.33% performance to her own compilation.
She said: “I studied violin and piano, so I’m enjoying doing all my own freestyle music. I’m a technophobe but I downloaded a free digital editing programme and I play around until I get the result I want.”
While “Paddington” dances to Argentine tango, Rowena is planning to use some syncopated rhythms to show off her other horse’s lateral work.
Bex Haryett and Hawtins Salento, by Sandro Hit, win at elementary