Ambitious Lottie keen to keep a level head

IT is highly appropriate that Yorkshire dressage star Lottie Fry was given an Olympic feel upon her debut at Grand Prix Under-25 level.

Riding high: Lottie Fry and Exquis Clearwater competing at the recent CDI Roosendaal Indoor event.
Riding high: Lottie Fry and Exquis Clearwater competing at the recent CDI Roosendaal Indoor event.

The 19-year-old is the daughter of much-missed 1992 Barcelona Olympian Laura – she died of cancer three years ago – with a Games legacy continuing as Lottie partnered 2008 and 2012 Olympian Exquis Clearwater at last weekend’s CDI Roosendaal Indoor.

Even more poignantly – exceeding all expectations – the partnership secured both the Intermediate II and Short Grand Prix. It is as if Olympic qualities are in the blood, written in the stars.

Yet Fry is keeping her feet firmly grounded as she continues her education with Val Olst Horses in Holland, while readily admitting Games representation would be the ultimate dressage dream.

Former Driffield School pupil Fry has been making relentless progress on the Young Riders scene in recent years, but burst onto the Grand Prix stage at CDI Roosendaal riding a horse who competed at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games and won team bronze in Hong Kong. Seventeen-year old Danish warmblood Clearwater is owned by Anne Van Olst and Ton Kies of Team Exquis and the unification with Britain’s rising star of dressage Fry proved a winning combination.

The duo won both the Under-25 Intermediate II and Short Grand Prix with 69.254 per cent and 71.442 per cent.

But the teenager is determined to keep a level head about her future, admitting she was somewhat taken aback by the scale of her Grand Prix debut and aware there is a mountain to climb before emulating her mother by representing Team GB at a future Games. Speaking from her current home at Van Olst Horses in Den Hout, near Breda, Fry told The Yorkshire Post: “I was actually a little surprised at how well it went considering it was my first time riding at that level. This is definitely a big highlight in my career and one that I will remember forever.

“It was incredible to partner an Olympic horse and I am so grateful to the Van Olst’s for giving me this amazing opportunity. But I haven’t really thought about the Olympics, to be honest. I’m still young and my riding is improving every day but there’s still a long way to go to be at the level I would like to be at.

“I love to train and compete the horses up the levels and if one day I am good enough for the Olympics then that would be incredible.”

There is no doubt the teenager is quickly heading in the right direction with her Young Rider Horse Z Flemmenco having won his first international Young Rider competition for the rider at Lier CDI in Belgium last month.

The 11-year-old gelding is owned by Fry’s grandma, Rosemary Shewen, and the duo were the best British combination in all three classes at this summer’s Young Rider Europeans in France where they scored personal best scores.

Fry’s other Young Rider horse is Black Pearl, a nine-year old Dutch warmblood mare owned by Van Olst Horses.

The teenager topped Horse & Hound’s ten Under-25 dressage riders to watch for 2015 and some think the riding starlet has the potential to be Britain’s next golden girl of dressage. A future Charlotte Dujardin perhaps?

“I think it’s pretty amazing that people say that,” said Lottie.

“It’s an honour that anyone would even think that and I know I have a lot of hard work to do before getting anywhere near to that standard but it’s an incredible feeling knowing that people believe I can.”

After celebrating new year with proud dad Simon at the new family home in Harwood Dale, Scarborough, expect further steps forward in 2016 with Fry clearly thriving at Van Olst Horses and not even contemplating when her time in Holland might come to an end.

The teen still has another two years at Young Riders level and reasoned: “Next I am hoping to compete at Drachten CDI in Holland at the beginning of January, and after that I haven’t planned anything yet.

“But the main aim for next year is to be selected for the Young Rider Europeans in July.

“I haven’t planned how long I am going to be staying here in Holland, but at the moment I’m loving it.”