AMPNEY ST PETER dressage star Laura Bechtolsheimer has won the annual Dressage Deluxe National Championship at Stoneleigh Park for the second year running.

The European Team Gold medallist rode her father’s 16-year-old gelding Andretti H (Andy) and returned a score of 76.80%.

In a close-fought battle with Michael Eilberg, Laura clinched the title with an impressive technical freestyle.

“It was going so well, I decided to throw in a bit of show-boating,” Laura explained.

Performing to their tried-and-tested reggae soundtrack, Laura and Andy entertained the crowds as well as the judges.

She added: “To come back here as champion one year down the line, I was more nervous to keep my place. There’s pressure in front of a home crowd, you want to perform your best.”

Hard-working Laura is never one to rest on her laurels and is already looking forward to 2012 preparations.

“We mustn’t be complacent about keeping the horses fit and well for next year,” she said. “To be national champion of a country that is the current European gold medallist is brilliant!”

Laura and Andretti H will compete in the Lyon World Cup qualifier in October. With Mistral Hojris, her world number two-rated ride, she will contend the Stuttgart CDI4* in November.

Newent-based Carl Hester also had a triumphant run at the championships, winning the Horse Health Intermediate II title on Merlin Nemorensis.

The pair won with a score of 68.95% after a showy test which saw them score nine for the pirouettes.

Cheltenham rider Lucy Cartwright also had a successful competition with her horse Fergana, winning the Dodson & Horrell Novice Open Championship.

Lucy and Fergana posted their score as the second combination to go at 7.58am, and 32 tests later and they were still top of the leaderboard. The pair clinched their win with 70.7%.

At home, Lucy describes Fergana as the “lady in charge” and is hoping to move on to Elementary level this winter. Full-time rider Lucy trains with Carl Hester and Isobel Wessels.

FOUR-TIME paralympic dressage gold medallist Anne Dunham also stormed to victory last week at the Dressage Deluxe National Championships.

Dunham, from Broad Hinton in Wiltshire, rode her wonderful horse Teddy to scoop the national title, less than a fortnight after bringing home three gold medals from the European Para Equestrian Dressage Championships.

Anne and Sally-Ann Brown’s 14-year-old gelding triumphed in the KBIS Para Equestrian Dressage Grade 1A Championship. Their technically accurate and confident performance was awarded with a score of 76%.

“Today went better than I expected,” said Anne. “He’s quite tired after the Europeans but he came up trumps. “I thoroughly enjoyed it and am very pleased with him. He’ll have a little break now before we begin our campaign for the Winter Championships and on to London!”

Anne, 63, a veteran of four Paralympic Games, has multiple sclerosis and competes in the Grade 1A category – the group for the most disabled riders.

THE FINAL in the trio of events held at Gatcombe Estate concluded last weekend. Whatley Manor International was well attended by local riders such as Paul Tapner, from Highworth, who won the CIC** with Kilronan.

Daisy Berkeley, of Berkeley in Gloucestershire, finished 18th in the Intermediate (Section D) riding Donen Dusted. Daisy was returning to Gatcombe for the first time since losing her Olympic veteran Spring Along to a heart attack there in the spring.

Kitty King, of Stanton St. Quinton, had a particularly good weekend. In the CIC**, King finished in a respectable second place riding Zidante.

King also finished third in the CIC* riding Persimmon, after a double clear and just 4.8 time faults cross country.

The one star class, which was ultimately won by Hannah Bate on Zaire, also saw former Badminton winner Paul Tapner finish sixth and Swindon’s Tom McEwen finish tenth.