Carl Hester saluted his “pretty clever old thing” Nip Tuck after he brought his dressage music to the TheraPlate UK Liverpool International Horse Show.
Carl, who helped Great Britain win team gold at the London Olympics, delighted an appreciative, enthralled audience at the M&S Bank Arena.
Riding his 2016 Rio Olympics challenger, Carl marked a Liverpool debut for grand prix dressage by taking the combined Equitop GLME intermediate 1/grand prix class on a score of 83.063%.
“That was great,” he said. “He’s a pretty clever old thing.
“This is his first show since the national championships in September, and we just do half-an-hour’s warm-up and go for it.
“I only ride him a couple of days a week now, just keeping him fresh. I always look forward to competing at this time of year, and I have managed to to attend most of the dressage sessions held at Liverpool. It’s always great to be here.”
Carl triumphed by a comprehensive margin, but it proved a keenly-fought contest for the remaining podium places.
Last-to-go Henriette Andersen and Flavio finished in the runners-up spot, scoring 76.938%, a fraction ahead of Louise Bell and Into The Blue on 76.250%, with Jessica Dunn and Alicante Valley a close fourth.
Henriette said: “Coming second to Carl is like winning anyway – I’ll take that!
“It was quite hard work, though. Flavio hasn’t really done indoor shows, and it is quite intense and bright in the arena. It’s so lovely to be here, though.”