Wendi Williamson and Don Vito MH winning the 2024 Dressage Horse of the Year trophy. Sunday, March 10, 2024. Copyright Photo: Michelle Clarke Photography

Wendi Williamson has added a second Dressage Horse of the Year trophy to her trophy cabinet after a successful 2024 Land Rover Horse of the Year Show.

She and Don Vito MH won the top prize, but she also picked up the Medium Horse of the Year title with Danseur MH and was second and third with Fugato SW and Ducati MH in the FEI Small Tour Horse of the Year. “It was very busy but great,” said Wendi.

She was absolutely chuffed with 11-year-old Don Vito MH who has been with her since he was a three-year-old. The combination won the FEI Grand Prix CDI3* on 71.413%, took out the 4CYTE Grand Prix Special with a personal best of 74.383%, and the Harrison Lane Grand Prix Freestyle on 72.96%.

“I was really pleased with the (Grand Prix) Special, he was so soft and expressive.”

Expression is Don Vito’s thing . . . and that can be both good and bad. “He is sometimes known as Sharkie and bit the top of my finger off when he was unwell.”

The horse was out for nine months from early 2022 with a nasty infection and for a while it was touch and go as to whether he would pull through.

But things are right on track now. “I was disappointed after Takapoto where I didn’t ride to my training but I have these last few days so I am happy to be able to show he is capable of decent scores.”

For her there is nothing quite like winning at LRHOY with everyone there for the week.

Next up for the Waimauku combination is the National Champs and then in late April the Sydney CDI.

“When you have a horse at that level you may as well do it,” she says, “and I feel in a good place with my training.”

Wendi, an environmental scientist, previously won the Dressage Horse of the Year crown in 2019 with Don Vito’s full brother Don Amour MH.