Press release -

Top prize for Princess at X Factor Dressage to Music contest

After a day of dazzling dance moves, eye-catching costumes and glamorous galloping, the 2010 X Factor Dressage to Music champion has been announced as Jo Lashley with her horse Princess Spikkel.

Sponsored by Equivet Animal Care Products Ltd, the X Factor Dressage to Music event was held at The Hand Equestrian Centre, Clevedon, on 19th November and raised an impressive £5000 for Children in Need and the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre. Over 30 contestants entered and in true X Factor style, the winners of the first rounds were chosen by the judging panel, but the finalists and overall winners were voted for by the audience.

Jo, from Catcott in Somerset, performed with her unusually-marked mare and scooped first prize of £500, following a tough day of performances. Wearing a sparkly tutu, Jo danced to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake theme, while her horse was decorated with a feather boa and glittery bow in her tail.  Jo has trained Princess Spikkel since she was four years old, and during the contest gave two stunning performances, demonstrating the harmony and connection between the rider and her horse. The duo was the clear winner according the audience vote and the panel of judges.

During the course of the Equivet X Factor Dressage to Music event, over 30 competitors performed for a place in the final top 12. In the first class of the day, Michelle Scears and Pina Colada came out on top to secure their place in the evening’s contest. Another horse that Michelle rode earlier in the Pas De Deux took exception to Michelle’s costume and gave a bucking performance worthy of a rodeo show, but Michelle stayed on board and was able to compete in the evening.  

The second class was for under-16s and William Auton gave a gutsy performance on Mr Appleby, winning first place in his class. He finished fourth in the overall final and received the Matthew Billing Memorial Trophy by Jane Billing, in memory of her beloved son.

The third class was for thoroughbreds and part-breds and although there were some great performances, the winner was chosen as Verity Perry with Armani, from Penzance.  The duo finished overall third in the evening’s final, following the audience vote.

Kim Walker and Georgina Bryce from The Bath Riding Club won the Pas De Deux and qualified for the evening in the wonderful quadrille with elegant costumes and dramatic music. Chantelle Bucknell and Sarah Ebbs completed the four in the evening – an ideal practice run for their appearance at Olympia in December where they will battle it out for the overall British Riding Club quadrille championships.

Another talented quadrille that made it through to the evening was the Witheridge Riding Club who all rode an exciting, energetic floor plan to fiery music while enacting the story of the Firebird. Whether this was dressage or jousting was under debate but they wowed the audience and judging panel alike with daring gallops and an inspired serpentine.

During the day, the panel of judges responsible for choosing the 12 finalists were Sue Petty (technical), Virginia Peters (choreography), Aly Burgess (music) and Celia Gadd and Helen Griffiths (X Factor) but in the evening it was down to the audience to vote for their winners.

The panel in the evening though were highly entertaining and Matt Frost (championship winning dressage rider), Haydon Price (Olympic farrier and author) and Aly Burgess (professional musician) kept the audience thoroughly amused with their bantering and sometimes ‘off the wall’ comments.

This was the sixth year the X Factor Dressage to Music event has taken place and it resulted in a great night of entertainment and family fun for all involved. Organisers Celia Gadd (Equivet commercial director, rider, trainer and former editor of West Country Riders) and Helen Griffiths (dressage rider and trainer from Charlton Adam) established the event to raise money for charities close to their hearts, including Children in Need, the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre and Water Aid. Altogether, over the six years, they have raised over £35,000.

Celia Gadd comments: “The X Factor Dressage to Music event is a really fun way to raise money for charities that are close to our hearts. There are not many opportunities in British Dressage to ride to music, in fancy dress and in front of an audience and panel of judges and our competitors really enjoy the opportunity. We’d like to thank all our panel members for their insights at the event, our sponsors for their donations and prizes and we offer our congratulations to all the contestants who put on a truly entertaining show for the audience.”

Equivet Animal Care Products Ltd was the title sponsor for the second year running and enabled the team to offer £500 to the overall winner and other great prizes for runners up. Equivet provides a great range of supplements and topical applications for horses and is rapidly growing its distributor network around the country.

Celia continues: “We came up with the idea six years ago as we love the X Factor TV show and knew riders would enjoy performing their ‘auditions’ with their horses. Over the years it has been hugely popular and we are already in talks about next years’ event.”

“We would like to say a huge thank you to our teams of helpers, supporters, sponsors, judges and everyone who helped us at the event. To raise over £5,000 in a night is a fantastic achievement and we could not have done it without the support of so many people.”

For further information on X Factor Dressage To Music or on Equivet Animal Care Products Ltd, contact Celia Gadd on or visit

Details on X Factor Dressage to music winner, Jo Lashey, can be found on


  • Animals


  • dressage
  • equivet
  • x factor


  • England

Equivet and Equivet Animal Care Products is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rectory Food Group and is a BETA and BHS member.


Francesca Gaffey

Press contact Consultant at JAM PR PR & Comms