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Hard reins call for champion AP

Dressage 'retirement' on the cards after Cheltenham drills

Malcolm Howe

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Malcolm Howe

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Hard reins call for champion AP

RACING legend AP McCoy’s latest return to the saddle has prompted him into more talk of hanging up his reins following his latest venture at Cheltenham last week.

“I think it's time to retire from that as well!" said the 20-time champion jump jockey after having his first taster of dressage in the paddock before the first race on Countryside Day.

McCoy was riding alongside current World, European and Olympic dressage champion Charlotte Dujardin, who coached him through some of the finer points of dressage before they together performed flying changes, piaffe, passage and extended trot.

Commentary was provided by Yogi Breisner, the Team GBR eventing performance manager, who said: "I don't think AP has cantered this slowly in his life before!"

Countryside Day raises money for the Countryside Alliance, and this year the British Equestrian Federation benefited ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics, and McCoy and Dujardin's dressage demonstration was part of their fund-raising activity.

McCoy rode national grand prix champion Barolo, a nine-year-old owned by Anna Kohn and Carl Hester, while Dujardin rode Pro-Set, owned by Carl Hester and Karen Shepherd.

Dujardin said: "AP was amazing. Obviously, dressage is completely different to race-riding and he coped really well."

“I think that's a bit flattering,” said McCoy. “ It's a different way of riding to everything I was taught. Everything you do as a jockey you wouldn't do as a dressage rider.

“But it was a good experience and I'm very lucky to have someone like Charlotte to show me what to do."

Dujardin will be attempting to defend her individual and team gold medals with her equine partner Valegro at the Rio Olympics in August next year.

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