THE London International Horse Show got underway at the Excel on Thursday morning with dressage riders first to take to the arena. It is the first time the show is being held in the East London venue, owing to redevelopment of the traditional Kensington Olympia venue.

The reigning Irish national champion Dane Rawlins and Espoire scored a personal best of 67.36% to place 13th in Thursday morning’s Dressage World Cup Grand Prix class. Rawlins and the 12-year-old Westphalian gelding Espoire rode the short Grand Prix test which was officially implemented by the FEI for the 2021/2022 World Cup season, including the final.

Britain’s most decorated female Olympic athlete, Charlotte Dujardin, took back the reins on her Tokyo bronze medallist Gio, who was sold after the Games, to win the Grand Prix on a personal best score of 82.55%. The current leader of the FEI Dressage World Cup Western European League, Germany’s Frederic Wandres and Duke of Britain FRH placed second on 75.15% with Danish rider Nanna Skodborg Merrald and Atterupgaards Orthilia scoring 75.10% for third. As we went to press on Friday evening, the FEI World Cup Freestyle was due to get underway at the venue.

On the first day of show jumping, Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs was the big winner, claiming victory in the opening two five-star classes. Fresh from winning the Rolex Grand Prix in Geneva on Sunday evening, Fuchs took the first class, the 1.50m Santa Stakes, on The Sinner, before landing the 1.45m Christmas Pudding Speed Stakes on Tam Tam Du Valon, ahead of home crowd favourite Ben Maher on Ginger-Blue.

Britain’s Guy Williams won the Puissance competition with Mr Blue Sky UK after clearing 2.10m. Ireland are represented in the jumping arena by Tipperary’s Shane Breen, Anthony Condon, Michael Duffy, Michael G. Duffy and Denis Lynch.