Dales Ponies at the RDA Nationals and World Championships
At least 2 Dales Ponies and 1 partbred were at the RDA National Championships at Hartpury in July 2007. Maidendale GJ (Biggles) qualified
in the Working Horse/Pony without
needing his hair extensions that year, thank goodness. He and his riders did well, but weren't placed.
The partbred Maidendale Grenadier had won his Regional dressage qualifier, so great things were expected of him. He was very calm and quiet during his warm-up, so his rider went through a full run-through before his test in the main arena. He remained calm and quiet, made a nice transition into his first canter on the corner ……….. and continuing straight on, popped over the 3'6” rails dividing the practice arena. His poor rider, taken by surprise, fell off and his entry was scratched.
The star of the show, though was Elaine Goodall's Hillbro' Crispin, at the time, the current holder of the Lizzie Shield for Veteran Performance Dales Pony. Not only did he compete with his own riders from the Otley Group, but helped out one of the riders from the Meirionnydd Special Riding Group when his own horse became upset in the collecting ring and couldn't compete. Crispin's record in the Nationals is impressive and in 2007 year included:
4th Led Dressage
5th and 7th Countryside Challenge
5th Grade 1a Dressage
1st and 3rd Combined Training
Before setting off for the RDA National Championships, Elaine was approached by Russia and asked if Crispin could stay on for the FEI World Para Dressage Championships the following week.
The Russian team couldn't bring their own horses, so were looking for suitable mounts in the UK. Crispin was ridden by the Russian Grade 1a Champion Dressage Rider, Maria Zagorskaya. He became very popular with her and the rest of the team and well known to everyone as “the little, black, Russian horse”. He did a brilliant job with Maria.
Despite the Russians being an 'emerging' nation in dressage, the team took 18th place and Maria was 17th both in the Team test and individually in her grade. The pair then went on to take 15th place in the Freestyle Dressage to Music, all thanks to the world's first Russian Dales Pony.