Merry, merry. Christmas is coming! But the excitement that the holidays bring is already alive and well this week at Olympia. Santa's making his (entry) lists, checking it twice, going to find out which horses are naughty and nice.
On the very first night of competition, Charlotte Dujardin kicked off with a win in the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix and quickly followed it up with the Freestyle to Music, too. Shortly thereafter, GBR's Holly Smith stole the opening CSI5* class, noticeably with eventer Michael Jung (the man, the machine) placing 3rd. It's always exciting when worlds collide.
Charlotte Dujardin takes the stage.
In an eye-popping display of scope, both Britain’s William Whitaker and Ireland's Michael Pender (an Olympia first-timer) cleared the 7'2" Puissance wall to share the spoils of the class. It was Whitaker's RMF Charly's first Puissance - to win was a display of the horse's heart and bravery. Whitaker also won the Snowflake Stakes, a speed class, on RMF Chacco Top the next day.
William Whitaker and RMF Charly
Michael Pender & Hearton du Bois Halleux
What would Christmas be without the squeal and joy of children? The Saracen Horse Feeds Shetland Pony Grand National is a thrill for young jockeys and spectators alike. There's just not much that is cuter than a stampede of Shetland ponies.
Olympia continues to run through the weekend and if you're looking to get into the Christmas spirit from afar, you can find viewing details here.
What a way to close out 2019!
Photos by Sophie Harris of SEH Photography.