SCARBOROUGH rider Lottie Fry had time very much on her side sizing up 2019’s main aims.
Only turning 23 in February, the 2019 Under-25s European Championships in Italy appeared a natural aim for a rider who had already competed at six Europeans at ponies, juniors and Young Riders.
Or better still the senior Europeans, with Fry still coming to terms with a truly rapid rise up the ranks as she prepared to step out for Team GB alongside the sport’s biggest names.
The daughter of much missed Olympic dressage rider Laura, Lottie has made serene progress over the last decade yet the latest rise up the ranks is still sinking in.
Because despite still having two years left as an under-25s rider, Fry will represent the senior Great Britain team at next week’s FEI Longines European Championships in Rotterdam alongside Charlotte Dujardin, Carl Hester and Gareth Hughes.
Fry has history with all three and the rider can still recall having lessons with Hughes when she was 15 years old.
Coaching with Hester then followed where Fry regularly rubbed shoulders with Hester’s protégé Dujardin.
Half a decade later and now based with Van Olst Horses in Holland, Fry will be rubbing shoulders with the illustrious trio in the sport’s biggest event of the year having been called up to the GB senior team for the first time on Van Olst Horses and her own Dark Legend whom the rider achieved Individual silver and Freestyle gold at the European Under 25 Championships in 2018.
One year on, the biggest stage of all beckons with Fry naturally delighted with her decision to campaign early for the big time which also allowed the rider to shine at Aachen.
Fry told The Yorkshire Post: “It’s just on another level.
“It’s just completely different and it’s gone so fast because two years ago I did Young Riders and last year I did U-25s and now suddenly it’s already seniors.
“I could have done 25s this year but you can only do one or the other so I chose to campaign for the seniors.
“It was also the fact that I really wanted to compete at Aachen.
“It’s one of the biggest shows in the world and that was the week before and also the Under 25s Europeans were in Italy this year which is a very long way for the horses to go and very hot.
“Even if I didn’t make these Europeans I was able to ride at Aachen which was amazing.
“Now I’ve moved up I think it’s good to stay at the seniors and hopefully I can stay up here.
"I’m really excited. It’s always been in the back of my mind for this year but I wasn’t sure if it was actually all going to come together. When they called me I was a little bit shocked, it didn’t sink in straight away and it took a week or so for it to really feel real.
It’s quite unreal and unbelievable really when you think about it.”
Fry made the senior team long list with both Dark Legend and Everdale and the announcement that Fry had made the final four on Dark Legend came on the first day of this month.
Joining Fry and Dark Legend, triple Olympic gold medallist Dujardin will be riding Jill Blundell’s Mount St John Freestyle with Hester on Lady Anne Evans, Ann Cory and his own Hawtins Delicato and Hughes competing on Rebecca Hughes, Julia Hornig and his own Classic Briolinca. Dujardin has also been selected with a direct reserve horse, Sonnar Murray-Brown’s Erlentanz.
Just two and a half weeks after selection was confirmed, competition begins on Monday after Sunday’s trot up.
Typically thinking of the longer term future, Fry has also been in action this week at the Parvo Cup with the rider naturally thrilled with her progress since moving to Holland in 2014 to be with the internationally acclaimed Van Olst Horses.
“It’s been going amazing and this week we had a young horse competition called the Parvo Cup with four horses there,” said Fry.
“We went straight from there on Friday to Rotterdam.
“It’s been going really well, I have a lot of good horses to ride, all different ages so it’s really good and a good set up for the future.”
Whisper it quietly but that future might now just feature a trip to Tokyo 2020 with Fry having made the GB senior team one year short of the next Olympics but the Yorkshire star is determined to keep herself grounded
“It’s difficult to even think about,” said Fry, assessing the prospects of stepping out at Tokyo 2020.
“I think just take everything as it comes and not get too ahead of myself. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, I just want to be able to enjoy it. I think it’s still sinking in.”
Assessing her targets for next week – and even medal prospects – the grounded rider said: “I honestly have no idea, I haven’t even looked at it or thought of it.
“The others have done it many times before and they are really experienced so I haven’t really thought about it to be honest.
“I’d just like to go there and have a nice test and enjoy it, not put too much pressure on myself and just have a good time really.
“The trot up is on Sunday and then I compete Monday and the team competition is over Monday and Tuesday.
“The team test is Monday Tuesday and then I think it’s the top 30 go through to the individual which is the Grand Prix Special and that’s on Thursday and then the top 15 from that go through to the Freestyle on Saturday.
“I’m really excited – as is my dad.
“He’s coming out to watch but not too much celebrating – not until it is over!”