TWO years have now passed since the desperately sad passing of Olympic Grand Prix dressage rider Laura Fry to cancer.
Not a second goes by where she is not sorely missed. But another year has meant another year of determined progress for her teenage daughter Lottie for whom the devastating events of 2012 provided an even bigger incentive to succeed.
Lottie, 18, enjoyed a fine 2014, training with Carl Hester and excelling at this year’s Junior European Championships in Arezzo where her grandmother Rosemary Shewen’s 10-year-old gelding Z Flemmenco was the best of British in all three tests.
And a year that has featured national successes ended with an international move with Lottie currently based with Van Olst Horses in Holland.
Lottie, who left Driffield School aged 16 to pursue dressage stardom, is unsure how long she will be staying in Holland but there is no denying that the teenager is going places in the international dressage sphere.
Selection for this year’s European Championships in Vidauban, France – upped a level from Juniors to Young Riders class – is this year’s main goal.
It would take a brave person to bet against Lottie boarding the plane – and it’s bravery and a determined attitude that has Lottie on course to emulate her mum’s achievements 27 months after her passing aged 45 in September 2012.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post about dealing with her mum’s losing battle with cancer, Lottie admitted: “Obviously it was really difficult for me but it’s definitely made me much more determined.
“And I definitely think I’ve come out stronger on the other side. I first got into dressage through my mum because she was in the 1996 Barcelona Olympic Games.
“Watching it was very inspiring and it made me want to do better. On the odd occasion when we competed against each other it was very tense! And there was one occasion when I came out on top. But she was just very pleased for me.”
She’d be even more pleased now following another outstanding year for her daughter in which the profile of dressage has been magnified thanks to record-breaking Charlotte Dujardin.
Lottie has naturally been inspired and admits she too holds dreams of competing in the Olympics – dreams that would be all the more poignant if fulfilled given her mum’s exploits in Barcelona.
“I’ve been really inspired by Charlotte this year,” added Lottie. “It’s amazing how she is improving and still breaking her own records. The Olympics is definitely a big dream for me and it’s definitely something that I would be aiming for. I’d like to go to the top.”
After last year’s exploits, it seems the only way is up, Lottie clearly delighted with her achievements in 2014 which came in spite of the retirement of class act Remming. The Yorkshire rider is now excited about stepping up in class to Young Rider level where she will be up against competitors aged 19 to 21.
“2014 was a very exciting year, with Z Flemmenco doing so well at the Junior Europeans and being the best of British in all three tests,” said Lottie, who will turn 19 next month.
“It was such an amazing competition. My main aim for 2015 is to be selected for the GB Young rider European team and also compete successfully at international competitions at young rider level. I can’t wait for it – to keep moving up – and I definitely love a challenge.”
Another challenge has been adapting to life in Holland, the determined teenager admitting to missing particular comforts of home.
“I’m having such a great experience and learning so much,” she explained.
“I got the opportunity through my trainer Carl Hester and moved here in October but nothing has been sorted for how long yet. But I definitely miss England, especially English food!”