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Freestyle Grand Prix: Viva España!

Following in the footsteps of the UK’s Carl Hester’s Special Grand Prix win today, Spain’s Cristobal Belmonte took home the crown in the Freestyle to Music test event. There were just four pairs competing in the Freestyle Grand Prix this afternoon at D’Ornano Stadium, so the atmosphere was pleasingly intimate.

Freestyle Grand Prix: Viva España!
© PSV Photos

Whereas there were clear favourites from the start in the Special Grand Prix, the four Freestyle competitors were more evenly matched, setting the stage for an exciting outcome.

Germany’s Isabelle Steidle on Long Drink 2 opened proceedings. The 13-year-old gelding proved to be slightly wary, with a long hesitation at marker H. The pair did manage to put out a second-place finish, however, with a final score of 68.928%.

Denise Hallion and Wervelwind represented South Africa. Their movements were clean, although the judges found them lacking in artistry.

Next up were Spain’s Cristobal Belmonte and Diavolo II de Laubry. They set themselves apart from the start, riding to Middle-Eastern Celtic music. The horse was comfortable, expressive and light on his feet, achieving the best artistry score by far. The Iberian pair were the only ones to break the 70% mark at 70.017%.

It would be a tough act to follow for Frenchwoman Alizée Froment and Mistral du Coussoul. However, they managed to earn a respectable 68.321% to put them in third place. Mistral struggled with a few piaffes, although they were better than usual. However, the stallion’s tenacious attitude did win him favours with the judges. “We’ve just come third in the Freestyle to Music at the World Championships, even if it was just the dress rehearsal! We got to do a lap of honour in front of an ecstatic crowd (laughs), and that will always be a great memory,” says Froment.

RESULTS

  1. Cristobal Belmonte (ESP) & Diavolo II De Laubry - 70,017% 
  2. Isabelle Streidle (GER) & Long Drink 2 - 68,928%
  3. Alizée Fromont (FRA) & Mistral du Coussoul - 68,321%

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