Tag Archives: Carl Hester

Carl Hester to Present ‘Road to Grand Prix’ Masterclass at Olympia

Leading British Dressage rider and Olympic gold medallist, Carl Hester MBE, is set to take centre stage at Olympia, The London International Horse Show 2017, performing a special masterclass on Wednesday 13 December.

Hester, who took the title of both the FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix and Freestyle at Olympia Horse Show in 2016 aboard Olympic team gold medal winning horse, Nip Tuck, will be presenting an invaluable ‘the making of a Grand Prix horse’ masterclass at this year’s Show. The Olympian will guide spectators through the elements which make a medal-contending Dressage horse, from producing the perfect piaffe to mastering the most effective mentality.

Taking to the saddle will be Olympic Champion, Charlotte Dujardin, aboard a young prospect being given a leg up to Grand Prix level by Hester himself. The evening will provide an exclusive understanding into the transition from high-level horses to Grand Prix stars, illustrating the characteristics that make horses excel at the most elite level.

Carl Hester MBE: ‘I’m really looking forward to giving a masterclass at Olympia this year. I’ve got many fantastic memories of competing at the Show, so it will be amazing to give spectators more insight into bringing on young horses and what it takes to get a horse to Grand Prix level, from the importance of early success to natural ability, and much more.’

Hester will also be making an appearance on Tuesday 12 December, joining Charlotte Dujardin to give a medal-winning masterclass, as she showcases the training routine of an Olympic Champion aboard her 16.3h FEI World Equestrian Games™ hopeful, Mount St John Freestyle.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, commented: ‘We are delighted to have Carl host a masterclass at this year’s Show. He’s a crowd favourite, and has had a long-standing affiliation with Olympia, and I am sure spectators will be excited to learn from his experience.’

The seven-day equestrian spectacle, taking place from 12-18 December 2017, will host its biggest line-up of equestrian stars yet. The world-class horse and rider combinations competing across three FEI World Cup™ competitions in Carriage Driving, Dressage and Show Jumping, will be joined by ten of the greatest ever jockeys. Racing legends Frankie Dettori and Sir AP McCoy, and their respective teammates, will switch disciplines for one night only as part of the Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund on Friday’s ‘Race Night’.

Adding to the phenomenal line-up will be displays from the Mounted Branch of the Metropolitan Police with their Activity Ride, and the Chilean Huasos. The Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National is returning with an incredibly competitive line-up of young jockeys following the footsteps of their well-known racing parents, including Rocco Dettori, son of renowned flat jockey, Frankie Dettori. Crowds can also expect to see the world’s most talented dogs and their handlers, as they compete in the Kennel Club Dog Agility.

For more information on Olympia, The London International Horse Show, and how to purchase tickets, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford, gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Valegro’s Shoe Donated by Carl Hester Earns Top Dollar to Benefit Equestrian Aid Foundation

Carl Hester coaching at the NEDA 2017 Dressage Symposium. Photo by Mary Phelps.

New Gloucester, Maine – Oct. 19, 2017 – A silver-plated horseshoe once worn by superstar dressage horse Valegro raised $5,000 for Equestrian Aid Foundation at the New England Dressage Association (NEDA) Carl Hester Symposium, held Oct. 14-15 in New Gloucester, Maine. The bidding was hot among the clinic attendees. In the end, Betsy Dangel from Newton Center, Massachusetts made the highest bid when the auction closed.

The top-priced auction items were presented to the winners on the closing day of the symposium. Hester admitted he took the silver-plated shoe from Charlotte Dujardin’s desk.

“We made nine of these shoes which have all been donated to charity,” Hester said. “Now I have to tell Charlotte the last one went to America.”

Other items included an original painting of Hester and his horse Nip Tuck titled “The Master” by artist Lisa Marie Bishop with Hester’s signature, and a signed banner photo collage of Hester, Nip Tuck, Dujardin and Valegro created by DressageDaily’s Mary Phelps.

In total, nearly $8,000 was raised for Equestrian Aid Foundation. Hester said he was thrilled that the auction went so well.

“Not only did I have great riders and horses to train, Valegro’s shoe raised $5,000 for the Equestrian Aid Foundation,” he said.

The auction was orchestrated by Markel’s Mary Phelps, a Gold Sponsor of the event. Phelps has been a supporter of Equestrian Aid Foundation since its founding in 1996.

“Let’s face it,” Phelps said. “Carl is a rock star and so is Valegro. People were stalking the bidding table until the closing bell.”

Janise Gray, Equestrian Aid Foundation director of grant recipient services, attended the event.

“We are grateful to Mary Phelps for the success of the silent auction,” Gray said.  “For two decades, Mary has exemplified our ‘Show You Care’ motto. The Equestrian Aid Foundation helps people across the country involved in all facets of the horse community.  It is through the efforts of our supporters like Mary and Carl that we are able to provide financial assistance, hope and dignity to help our recipients heal.”

Edited press release from HorsesDaily.com.

Equestrian Aid Foundation
11924 West Forest Hill Blvd
Suite 10A-377
Wellington, FL 33414
800-792-6068
EquestrianAidFoundation.org

Carl Hester Does the Double as Valegro Retires in Style

The Olympia Grand Hall saw a sell-out crowd, as many of the world’s greatest Dressage riders took to the arena. The FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle to Music wowed the packed crowd, with Carl Hester dominating for the second night running.

The talking point of the Show was the retirement of one of Dressage’s greatest horses, Valegro, with spectators treated to a special performance ahead of an emotional retirement ceremony.

The second day at Olympia, The London International Horse Show could not have ended any more perfectly than with British Dressage’s own Superman, Carl Hester, winning the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle supported by Horse & Hound.

The win with Nip Tuck, Hester’s second consecutive Olympia FEI World Cup™ qualifying win with his 18 hand high 2016 Olympic team silver partner, came during an emotionally charged evening performance that saw the retirement of Nip Tuck’s stable and Olympic team mate Valegro. The double Olympic gold medallist is part-owned by Hester and ridden by his pupil and former protégé Charlotte Dujardin.

Hester and Nip Tuck’s freestyle (84.669) delighted the capacity crowd many of who have come back to Olympia every year since the prestigious FEI World Cup™ qualifier was initiated here in 2003.

“That was the biggest atmosphere at Olympia that I have ever experienced,” said Hester, who is now aiming for the FEI World Cup™ Final in Omaha in April.  “Even yesterday in the Grand Prix it was super-charged and not just because of the numbers. Barney was a little on edge but I was really pleased that even out there, with so many people, he kept with me.”

Hester was also a major part of the evening’s retirement ceremony for Valegro.

“It has been such a joyous occasion,” said Hester. “I know everyone thought it would be sad, but how could anyone be sad to see Valegro go out so fit and well and happy – it’s been a happy-sad day.”

Hester and Nip Tuck not only successfully defended their Olympia title, but comfortably held off the potential challenge from Dutch Olympic riders Hans Peter Minderhoud with Glock’s Flirt (81.880) and Edward Gal with Glock’s Voice (80.467). The two Dutch riders, as last night in the Grand Prix, took second and third place. Hans Peter Minderhoud, the current holder of the FEI World Cup™ title took the runner up position with Glock’s Flirt with who he won the title last year – his first FEI World Cup™ accolade.

“I expected a great class with a big atmosphere so I knew we would have to produce our very best and then I heard Carl’s score,” said Minderhoud.

“I just had to keep to the plan and do the best we could and not over-ride him. He was really with me and really trying so I am super happy, but perhaps it’s time to make my freestyle more difficult.”

Fellow Dutchman Edward Gal and the stallion Glock’s Flirt were third, while Irish rider Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K (78.269) performed a powerful and expressive routine to a seasonal foot-tapping compilation to be fourth. British rider Hayley Watson-Greaves achieved a personal best with Rubins Nite for fifth place.

While Hester has yet to win a FEI World Cup™ Final, he has trained both Valegro and his rider Charlotte who have won the FEI World Cup™ series on two occasions (2014 & ’15). The pair is the current holders of the record FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix (87.129% in Lyon, 2014) and Grand Prix Freestyle score (94.16 in Las Vegas, 2016).

The 14-year-old equine superhero is part-owned by Hester, who has trained him and his rider Charlotte Dujardin through the fairy-tale style story that runs from four-year-old young horse champion to achieving double Olympic glory this year at Rio.

The 2017 FEI World Cup™ Final (March 29 – April 2) takes place in Omaha, Nebraska.

Three-time Olympic Champions Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro entered the Olympia Grand Hall for a final time, performing their London 2012 Gold medal winning freestyle test to a sell-out crowd in a touching retirement ceremony. In 2014 the pair set the Freestyle Dressage world record at Olympia, and currently holds the highest Olympic score in the Freestyle. Beyond their phenomenal medal haul, the pair has achieved a great amount for the sport itself, as acknowledged by British Dressage in a special award ceremony during last night’s performance.

Valegro and Charlotte were joined in the arena by mentor and part-owner, Carl Hester, as well as groom Alan Davies, in what was an emotional last dance. The packed-out stands gave the duo a well-deserved standing ovation as they paraded out of the arena.

Speaking after the ceremony, Charlotte Dujardin said, “There have been so many happy memories; he’s won every gold medal there is, including three Olympic golds and two FEI World Cup™ titles. He’s a once in a lifetime horse and I’ll miss competing with him enormously.”

The solitary foot-perfect performance secured the Services Jumping Championship win at Olympia, The London International Horse Show for the Household Cavalry’s Major Chambers, an accolade he has chased for six years with the 12-year-old gelding Hightide.

“It’s the ultimate [equestrian] title to win when for the military,” said Major Chambers, a Riding Master for the Lifeguards. “We have been second two times previously, and I had actually qualified two horses at the Royal Tournament for this final. I decided to bring Hightide as I trust him in the atmosphere here. The other horse, Freeway, has never been here before, so it made sense.”

Major Chambers bought Hightide at Gorsebridge sales eight years ago for the Defence Animal Riding Centre as a school horse. However, the two quickly developed a strong bond. “I decided to try him out one day and fell in love,” said Major Chambers, who was also part of the winning Services Team Jumping squad with Hightide at this year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk
0203 176 0355
www.olympiahorseshow.com

Hester Wins and Valegro Bows Out on a Night to Remember at Olympia

Carl Hester with Nip Tuck. (Jon Stroud Media/FEI)

Olympia, London (GBR), 14 December 2016 – On an electrifying night at the London International Horse Show, Carl Hester won the fifth leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016/2017 Western European League with Nip Tuck. This was a back-to-back double on home ground for the 49-year-old British star and his 12-year-old gelding, but the man who has been largely responsible for placing British dressage firmly on centre stage in recent years had to battle for the limelight, as his victory was quickly followed by an emotional farewell performance by his stable-star, Valegro.

The Grand Hall at Olympia was packed to capacity as reigning FEI World Cup™ champions, Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Flirt, filled runner-up spot ahead of Dutch compatriot and 2010 champion Edward Gal in third with Glock’s Voice. A fourth-place finish for Judy Reynolds has promoted the 35-year-old Irish phenomenon to the top of the Western European League going into the next leg of the series in Amsterdam (NED) in February.

Reynolds and Vancouver K led the way after the judging break with a score of 78.269, but Hester moved the target on to 84.669 with another of his text-book rides. “This was the biggest atmosphere I’ve ever experienced at Olympia. Barney (Nip Tuck) was a little on edge, but I’m really pleased that in that atmosphere he kept with me!” he said after posting what would prove to be the winning score.

Hester, whose own career is filled with major highlights, is the man who created the fairytale partnership between Charlotte Dujardin and the amazing gelding Valegro, who together have become icons in the sport over the last five years. Breaking world records was all in a day’s work for this sensational duo, but just a few short months after adding to their haul of Olympic gold in Rio, the 14-year-old horse was officially retired from the sport after presenting one last stunning performance of their winning London 2012 Olympic Games Freestyle test.

Hester, who trained and mentored the pair, said, “It has been a such a joyous occasion – I know everyone wanted it to be sad but how could anyone be sad to see Valegro go out so fit and well and happy – it’s been a happy sad day!”

Dujardin described Valegro as “just the perfect horse, with the biggest heart in the world; he always gave me his very best!” while fellow-Olympian, Richard Davison, put it all in perspective when he said that it was “the alchemy” between Hester, Dujardin and this very special horse that has been key to this extraordinary success story.

Detailed result here

Quotes:

Carl Hester GBR (1st): “My plan is to get to Omaha (for the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017 Final). I started at Lyon and will next head to Amsterdam and keep room in the diary for another one if needs be. I last competed in a World Cup Final in 2005 with Escapado.”

Hans Peter Minderhoud NED (2nd): “I expected a great class with a big atmosphere so I knew we would have to produce our best, and then I heard Carl’s score so decided to keep to the plan and just try to do everything the best we can and not over-ride him. I am super happy, but perhaps it’s time to make my Freestyle more difficult.”

Edward Gal NED (3rd): “My horse was a little unsettled at the beginning as being last to go he got left on his own in the warm up arena – which, because he is a stallion, distracted him. But otherwise he felt good and he made not many mistakes – it was a good start for our World Cup season. I love to come to London the atmosphere in the Hall is very special, and especially at Christmas time!”

Full standings here

Don’t miss a hoofbeat! Watch it all LIVE on www.feitv.org.

Social media: #FEIWorldCupWEL #RidetoOmaha #FEIWorldCupFinals #TwoHearts

Rider biographies: view online and download from www.fei.org/bios.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Olympia:

Jo Peck
Press Officer
JoPeck@hpower.co.uk
+44 1753 847 900

At FEI:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Dressage Stars Take Centre Stage on Opening Night of Olympia

The World’s best Dressage riders were out in force on the opening night of Olympia, The London International Horse Show, where Carl Hester was crowned winner of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound aboard his Rio Team silver medal winning horse Nip Tuck.

In addition to the top-class competition, Britain’s favourite horse, Valegro, graced the arena along with Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester, ahead of his retirement, and Emile Faurie also gave a foot perfect masterclass.

Spanish horse whisperer, Santi Serra, opened the show with his unique display featuring dogs and horses, paving the way for a spectacular performance from the Pride of Portugal Lusitano horses and riders.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show kicked off in great style with the first night’s full house witnessing British Olympic rider Carl Hester win the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix (supported by Horse & Hound).

The British favourite produced a controlled and confident test from the giant Nip Tuck who, despite being 12 years old, is still a notoriously spooky horse. The pair produced particularly impressive piaffe and passage and claimed a unanimous win from the five judges.

“I am very happy with him tonight,” said the Gloucestershire rider. “This time last year it took another 24 hours to get to this point.”

“We can improve on the score and yes I need to be more attacking in the ride to gain the higher marks but tonight was a stepping stone to that and, considering how spooky he can be, he is becoming a very reliable horse.”

Dutch Olympic team riders Hans Peter Minderhoud and Edward Gal, regular visitors to the London Show, were second and third.

Hans Peter and Glock’s Flirt, the reigning World Cup champions stand second. It was just the second show for the pair since their World Cup win in Gothenburg in April.

“I am very satisfied with Flirt, especially as he had all summer off and only came back at Maastricht where he was second. Already he feels improved and hopefully he will be better again tomorrow,” said Hans Peter who has been coming to the London show for the last ten years.

“We always try to do this show and now feel very much at home here in London,” said Hans Peter. “It has a great atmosphere and is good way to end the year.”

It was also only the second outing for the stallion Glock’s Voice since he competed with Edward Gal at the Olympic Games in Rio.

He said; “Yes, he was a little overwhelmed by the atmosphere and a little bit too much of a stallion in the warm-up – which is quite small and was busy with other horses – so he was a bit difficult and falling into the corners and a little against my hand at times, but we can most certainly can do better and tomorrow we start again.”

The FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle starts Wednesday night at 7.30pm after which the audience will have their tissues at the ready for the retirement ceremony of the British team Olympic gold medallist horse Valegro.

Valegro made his first UK public appearance since winning his third Olympic gold medal in Rio, much to the delight of the packed crowd. Fans were treated to a Q&A session with Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin, questions for which were submitted in advance by members of the audience. Charlotte and Valegro also demonstrated a couple of the moves that gave them such phenomenal success in the competition arena.

The session also included an awards ceremony, with the following awards presented:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award to Valegro’s groom Alan Davies, presented by Chris Hewlett (Chairman of the British Grooms Association)
  • BHS Fellowship Award to Carl Hester, presented by Lynn Petersen, Tessa Martin-Bird and Julia David from The British Horse Society
  • British Dressage Award to Valegro and Charlotte Dujardin, presented by Jennie Loriston-Clarke

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk
0203 176 0355
www.olympiahorseshow.com

Bateson-Chandler Joins Hester and Dujardin in Winners Circle at Hartpury Festival of Dressage LeMieux

Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar (Photo courtesy of JRPR)

Hartpury, England (July 12, 2016) – The hotly contested Hartpury Festival of Dressage LeMieux FEI Grand Prix this weekend came to a close with leading European riders Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin placing first and second, respectively, and USA’s Katherine Bateson-Chandler claiming third with a 70.22 percent. Bateson-Chandler, aboard Jane F. Clark’s Alcazar, was proud to take a victory lap behind her personal friends and stable-mates, Great Britain Olympians Hester and Dujardin.

The Hartpury Festival of Dressage, held in Hartpury, England on July 6-10, was Bateson-Chandler’s last competition before going on to represent The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team in the upcoming FEI Nations Cup competition at the World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen.

“I was really happy with Alcazar in the LeMieux Grand Prix,” Bateson-Chandler stated. “I tested him a bit by not letting him see the arena beforehand, so I knew he would be a bit more nervous, but I wanted to know he could handle the situation.”

Not only did Alcazar, a 10-year-old KWPN (Contango x Polin, Ferro) gelding, handle the situation, but rose to the occasion by challenging some of the host nation’s top contenders. Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar travel to Europe each summer to train with Hester, where they are stabled at his yard with fellow competitor Dujardin.

“He was really great. Carl [Hester] and I have been changing some things up in his training, so I wanted to see if I could achieve some of the training changes in a test environment. We still had a couple of smaller mistakes, but the feeling in general was lovely! It’s so nice to be able to compete with my friends Carl and Charlotte as there is so much support from everyone here!”

Now Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar are fully geared up for the CHIO Aachen Nations Cup – the Final FEI Nations Cup competition for the 2016 year – which runs July 12-17 in Aachen, Germany. Bateson-Chandler said, “It will be great to be able to ride in that amazing stadium in Aachen! It is most riders’ dream to compete there, so I am thrilled that my first time riding at this facility will be on Alcazar. We are so looking forward to it!”

Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar train with both U.S. Olympian and Developing Dressage Coach Debbie McDonald while in Wellington, Florida during the winter. When not competing on the international stage, Bateson-Chandler offers training and coaching services through her business KBC Dressage. Her worldwide Grand Prix experience ensures that her students – both human and equine – have the competitive edge necessary for success in the dressage ring. KBC Dressage offers training, lessons, clinics, and prospect selection for clients. For more information about Katherine Bateson-Chandler, visit www.kbcdressage.com.

Contact: Katherine Bateson-Chandler
chandlercarlos@aol.com
908-391-9096

Carl Hester Claims Freestyle Victory at Olympia, the London International Horse Show

Photo credit Kit Houghton/Hpower.

Last night after the Grand Prix at Olympia, The London Horse Show, Carl Hester threw down the gauntlet. Tonight he put words into action and with Nip Tuck (83.750%) ran out the winner of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Freestyle supported by Horse & Hound.

Promising the most difficult freestyle he could muster, the British Olympic and European gold medallist delivered with a brand new test of high technical difficulty and was delighted to nail the win. It was also a convincing personal best (PB) freestyle score for the combination.

“This is really huge for me,” said a delighted Hester. “Last night I thought I had a chance and decided to grab it. I was a little nervous as to whether it would come off and to produce a test like that you really have to have a horse on your side. It just goes to show that after 25 years in the job and riding Grand Prix you never really know what you have and Nip Tuck is really turning into something I never thought he was.”

The showcase performance by the British Master relegated the then leaders Charlotte Dujardin and Uthopia (82.55), to second place. The pair had produced an energetic and expressive test and also produced their highest and best score to date.

“I am really happy with the test,” said Charlotte, who is lining up the Dutch-bred stallion as a second string for Rio.

“Last night he felt really fresh and tonight a little tired and there were a few errors. He is a very different ride to Valegro and is a little ring shy and I still have to hold his hand a bit but he tried so hard.”

Hans Peter Minderhoud, a regular Dutch visitor to Olympia, and Glock’s Flirt (80.975) took third and in a night of PBS followed suit producing a score marginally higher than their bets and winning score in Stockholm last month.

“I was pleased with that – it was a little difficult coming in after Charlotte but he really tried for me and it is a great feeling when they are on your side,” said Minderhoud who always puts Olympia in his diary. “I love the show and London,” said Hans. “It is a great show, a great audience and a good way to end the year before Christmas.”

Lambert plays a winning game

Juggling a revision timetable for medical finals and show jumping training produced its first fruitful result for Olympia first-timer Second Lt Amy Lambert of the Army Medical Services. Riding her own Chequers Play the Game, she jumped the sole double clear of the Services Jumping Championships to secure the title.

“I didn’t realise I was the only double clear until after the class,” said Second Lt Lambert, whose medical finals are in just three weeks’ time. “I am absolutely ecstatic – you are doing well to qualify for this final.”

In preparation for her exams and this competition, Second Lt Lambert has been based at event rider Vittoria Panizzon’s yard for the past week. “Elvis,” as Chequers Play the Game is known at home, competes successfully with Vittoria in eventing and won the Aldon CIC** with her just two months ago.

To view the full results, click HERE.

For more information, please contact Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44(0)778 757 6490 or +44(0)207 592 1207

Olympia, The London International Horse Show
The first international horse show took place in the Olympia halls in 1907. Olympia, The London International Horse Show, the event we see today, was started by Raymond Brooks-Ward in 1971. This year’s show takes place on 15-21 December 2015 in the Olympia Exhibition Hall, located in West Kensington London. The show will play host to a packed timetable of all things equestrian and is expected to welcome over 90,000 visitors. It is regarded as one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious equine competitions. The show mixes top class equestrian action, including FEI World Cup™ Jumping, Dressage and Driving with family entertainment, such as the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National and The Kennel Club Dog Agility.

Hester Pips Dujardin in Battle of the British Olympians in London

Carl Hester and Nip Tuck. (FEI/Jon Stroud)

Olympia, London (GBR) 16 December 2015 – Carl Hester pipped his super-star protégé, fellow-Olympian and world no. 1 rider Charlotte Dujardin, for victory in the spell-binding sixth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League at Olympia in London (GBR). Riding Nip Tuck, the 11-year-old gelding with which he helped clinch team silver at this summer’s FEI European Championships in Aachen, Germany, the 48-year-old rider delivered a performance that simply demonstrated why he has long been a legend in this sport.

Winner of the third leg of the series in Stockholm, Sweden last month, Hans Peter Minderhoud from The Netherlands lined up third with Glock’s Flirt, while on a great night for the home-country contenders, Lara Griffith claimed fourth spot with Rubin Al Asad.

Ground Jury President, Great Britain’s Stephen Clarke, put tonight’s competition into perspective when he said, “It was fantastic; the whole level was really high with all the riders going for it. Hans Peter and Charlotte both did great tests, but then Carl came in with a degree of difficulty that was just amazing. He spent the first five minutes on the centre line! It was a test with a great degree of difficulty that worked, and that’s why he won.”

Influence

Hester’s influence on tonight’s competition even extended to the rider who held pole position until after the halfway stage. Trainer and rider, 32-year-old Hayley Watson-Greaves, is coached by the man who joined Dujardin on the British gold medal winning side at the London 2012 Olympic Games. And she sparkled when second to go with the fabulous black gelding Rubins Nite, taking all the risks to post a mark of 75.075.

It was fellow-countrywoman Griffith who demoted her from the top of the order, showing rhythm and relaxation as her 13-year-old gelding strutted his stuff to a rousing Scottish-themed musical score. Posting 78.025 for a test the judges described as “close to perfection technically,” this 27-year-old rider was always going to finish well in the frame, but Dujardin created a whole new parameter when next into the arena with Uthopia.

The 14-year-old stallion has not shown for the last two years and Dujardin has only competed him “seven or eight times” during her sensational career which has principally been dominated by her extraordinary partnership with the amazing gelding Valegro. But she stormed to victory in yesterday’s Grand Prix, pinning Hester and Nip Tuck into runner-up spot ahead of Minderhoud and Glock’s Flirt, and a repeat performance seemed very much on the cards this evening.

Calling card

The pair produced breathtaking extended trot and fabulous tempi changes, and although their final few movements didn’t come together they stamped 82.550 on their calling card, leaving it up to the rest to chase that. Minderhoud followed with a great effort that earned 80.975, but, second last to go, it was clear that Hester wasn’t riding for runner-up spot this time out.

“I just chucked everything at it to see what I could do! I know the degree of difficulty is being stepped up so I took every movement that was difficult and just rode it one day, wrote it down and then did it again the next day. With this horse I have no choice; if I want to be in the top lot I have to do something that showcases that,” he said after posting the winning mark of 83.750.

Stephen Clarke said at the post-competition press conference, “This man (Hester) just keeps opening all sorts of chapters! It was certainly a very exciting test and the music also worked beautifully. It wasn’t just that it was a difficult test, but that he managed to make it look easy. Pirouettes on centre line – both of them were really really good; he kept adding to the degree of difficulty and it really worked,” he added.

Never say never

Hester said that Nip Tuck has taught him to “never say never!” He had a long history of runner-up placings at Olympia since he first competed at the hugely popular Christmas fixture back in 2003, so this result was particularly satisfying. “I’m very proud of Nip Tuck; I’ve had him since he was a year old and he’s still only 11. He’s over 18 hands high – not a traditional dressage horse, not really made to do dressage, but in his head he is a gold medallist and that’s why his body gets better and better,” he explained.

Dujardin, who affectionately calls Hester “granddad,” said she didn’t mind having to settle for second place tonight. “If there’s one person to be beaten by, it’s granddad; he inspires me every day,” she said. “Watching him made me have goose-pimples. He said he was going to nail his floorplan tonight and he did such a cracking job, he made it look effortless. I’m so thrilled for him because he’s always wanted to win here and he’s done it at last!” said the rider who, with her no. 1 horse Valegro, holds every record and every title in the sport.

Today’s third placing has now promoted Hans Peter Minderhoud to the top of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Western European League table. I’m very lucky that I have three fantastic horses,” the Dutchman said. “I did two qualifiers with Glock’s Romanov and two with Flirt, and I will do two next year with Johnson and then decide which one to ride in the Final,” he explained.

“Yesterday it was quite close in the Grand Prix; I knew it would be hard to beat one of the Brit superstars, but they are great friends and I’m very happy for them!” he insisted.

Winning horse

Hester meanwhile mused about how much better he can do with tonight’s winning horse. “I missed my canter passage; I didn’t nail the transition and the walk isn’t relaxed. The halt was very difficult at end because he’s so used to everyone clapping, so there are still more points I can work on but I need to keep competing in this sort of atmosphere,” he said.

For the moment, however, Nip Tuck won’t be under any pressure. “He will have until the new year off; he’s very energetic and keeps himself very fit and is quite happy living out in field. So he will do that until January.”

He hopes that Uthopia, whose previous achievements include European team gold in Rotterdam (NED) in 2011 and Olympic team gold at London 2012, will be a reserve horse for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. “Charlotte will hopefully qualify him in Amsterdam,” Hester said. So there is every incentive to look forward to the next leg of the Reem Acra series at the Dutch fixture at the end of January.

For further information on the sixth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League at Olympia, London (GBR), go to www.olympiahorseshow.com or contact Press Officer Jo Peck, jopeck@hpower.co.uk, +44 1753 847 900.

The next leg will take place in Amsterdam (NED) on 29/30 January 2016. For information on the Dutch fixture, visit http://www.jumpingamsterdam.nl/ or contact Press Officer Charlotte Gunnink, media@jumpingamsterdam.nl, +31 638325326.

Detailed result here.

Facts and Figures:

The London International Horse Show at Olympia presented the sixth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League tonight.

15 riders from 8 nations – Belgium, Denmark, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and Ukraine – competed.

British horse-and-rider combinations filled the top two places, Carl Hester and Nip Tuck pipping Charlotte Dujardin and Uthopia.

Dujardin is ranked world no. 1 with her Valegro, the horse with which she claimed double-gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games, at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy (FRA), and with which she was crowned Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage champion in both 2014 and 2015.

Hester’s winning score with the 11-year-old gelding was 83.750.

The Ground Jury panel of judges consisted of: At E, Andrew Gardner (GBR); At C, Stephen Clarke (GBR); At B, Isabelle Judet (FRA); At H, Susanne Baarup (DEN); At M, Thomas Lang (AUT).

3 remaining rounds in the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European league – at Amsterdam (NED) in January, at Neumuenster (GER) in February and at ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) in March 2016.

The Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016 Final will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden from 23 to 28 March.

Quotes:

Carl Hester GBR (1st), talking about his winning horse, Nip Tuck: “A year ago he found it difficult to go round the edge let alone do the test. You have to have a special temp to be a winner, relaxed but with the energy to be a super star with pirouettes and passage.”

Charlotte Dujardin GBR (2nd), talking about the horse she rode tonight, Uthopia: “He hadn’t competed for nearly two years so last night I surprised myself (when winning the Grand Prix). It’s a great honour to ride a horse like Uthopia, to take him on after Carl. He felt a little tired tonight but he tried really hard. He hadn’t done that freestyle since Windsor two years ago, but he felt fantastic!”

Carl Hester GBR (1st), when asked about growing a beard to support the charity Decembeard: “I think I’m hormonally challenged; it took three weeks to get something growing on my chin!

“The bowel cancer charity asked me would I (grow a beard) and I said I can’t; I’m a dressage rider and I’m supposed to look chiselled and clean! But I gave in. I tried to trim it up for today but I look like a Dalmatian at the moment!”

Ground Jury President Stephen Clarke (GBR): “I have to say I think one of the best things for the sport this evening was that out of just half an ear could hear Imke (Bartels) and the commentary. She was so positive and honest and clear; it really made such a difference to the public, helped them understand and it’s one of the best things for the sport I have seen in a long time.”

Carl Hester GBR (1st): “Lara (Griffith) and Hayley (Watson-Greaves) were incredible tonight. The confidence of Hayley was great. We need to have future teams and Lara is such an elegant beautiful rider. It’s great to see her supported by the Bechtolsheimers who started me off. I’m very confident and happy to see new riders here; this is the best show in the world and with Reem Acra as the sponsor; we’re just thrilled to be here.”

Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED), 3rd: “It was quite noisy when I went in (to the arena) as Charlotte had just come out, but my horse was really going for it and had a great feeling. I was very happy; he’s a great horse; he’s really trying for me in the ring and gives me a super nice feeling. He’s not as pretty as my stallions but much easier!”

Carl Hester GBR (1st), talking about his future plans: “I’m taking Charlotte (Dujardin) to Amsterdam to get two qualifiers under her belt for the Final, but that’s me done for the season. I’ll appear in April after this big show. I’ve got to think about Rio for next year, so I will start the outdoor shows in April.”

Full standings here.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Olympia:

Jo Peck
Press Officer
JoPeck@hpower.co.uk
+44 1753 847 900

At FEI:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Carl Hester Clinches Back to Back Windsor Wins

Carl Hester and Nip Tuck.

May 15 2015 – Crowds were treated to another spectacular day of competition and stunning displays at Royal Windsor Horse Show, including the first win of the week for Her Majesty The Queen who once again was present to watch her horses and ponies compete and Carl Hester rounded off the evening with another near perfect performance and a red rosette.

DRESSAGE: CARL HESTER CONTINUES HIS WINNING STREAK

It was a British one-two in the FEI Grand Prix freestyle to music at Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Carl Hester and Nip Tuck delighted a full house with their winning test that scored high artistic marks and a final total of 79.45% just short of a personal freestyle best for the pair. The combination, members of the British team that won silver at the World Equestrian Games last year, ably demonstrated rhythmic trot work, passage and piaffe and beautifully fluent changes of which his rider was particularly proud.

“This horse has never, in all his tests, made a mistake in his changes – all he wants to do is his best and he always tries his hardest,” said Carl who was however slightly disappointed with the final mark.

“My aim was 80% and we didn’t quite make it – perhaps the walk wasn’t quite the same as in the grand prix but no matter he was really good. Make no mistake, this arena is a major ring with a big atmosphere and it is so good for us to be able to ride here.”

Carl’s pupil Fiona Bigwood made an emotional return to the top with her young mare Atterupsgaards Orthilia. Emotional as not only was it a big welcome back for Fiona who suffered a serious fall a year ago but she also rode her freestyle to music made for her former horse Mr G who tragically died in a field accident.

“I haven’t ridden to that music for four or five years and it was all a bit emotional for me – I loved Mr G and I love Tilly also,” said Fiona. “I had no idea how she would react to the atmosphere, music and the crowd as she is quite hot but she just got on with it and has such a great attitude.”

The mare, who was found in Denmark 18 months ago, has a natural ability for piaffe and passage and was described by Carl as ‘an 80% horse’.

He said; “All Fiona has to do is to continue increasing her confidence in the ring and she’ll be in the top five in the world – that horse can make us a gold medal team again.” The British pair will both now compete at the CDI in Fritzens in Austria.

Fiona’s husband, Danish rider Anders Dahl, kept it in the family with third place on Wie Atlantico. It was also one place higher than last year for Anders and Atlantico who showed particularly impressive passage.

“He felt very fresh today,” said Anders. “And I am really happy with his attitude.”

Atlantico who has now competed at grand prix for eight years, was formerly ridden by Fiona to win British team silver in 2010 and was then subsequently ridden by Carl when Fiona was expecting before going to Anders. And he is now ridden by their daughter – albeit on the lunge.

“He is just the most kindest genuine horse there is,” said Fiona.

BrowneDRIVING: CROWN EQUERRY WINS COACHING AWARD

It was an outstanding day in the coaching marathon – a renowned favourite at Royal Windsor – which drew an unprecedented crowd round the Castle Arena anxious to witness the splendid spectacle of 16 coaches drawn by lively teams of four horses. Among them was the crown equerry, Col Toby Browne LVO, driving Her Majesty The Queen’s team of bays to an original park drag. His immaculate presentation earned him the award for the best turned out entry.

Col Toby Browne was joined by nine other teams of horses put to park drags, together with four road coach turnouts and two regimental coaches. All completed a nine mile marathon through the Home Park before coming back into the arena to delight spectators. The championship was awarded to Bill Ginns with his team of Hackneys put to an original drag by Marston, while John Brown with his magnificent team of bays put to the Tally Ho Road Coach built by Shanks in the 1890s stood reserve.

At the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix dressage arena it was the turn of the pony four-in-hands. Bram Chardon from the Netherlands, current world pony four-in-hand gold medallist and son of the famous Dutch FEI horse four-in-hand competitor Ijsbrand, has a clear lead from the rest of the field. His closest challenger is Tinne Bax who was placed fourth individually at the 2013 World Pony Championships.

SHOWJUMPING: DUKE IN WINNING FORM AT ROYAL WINDSOR

Ireland’s Billy Twomey thrilled the crowd at Royal Windsor Horse Show with a perfectly performed round on Ardcolumn Duke to take the Bahrain Pearl Stakes. With an early draw in a 17-strong jump-off, the Nottinghamshire-based rider had to put the pressure on with a strong target time.

Twomey“He’s always competitive,” said Billy, who beat France’s Adeline Hecart (Question d’Orval) into second place. “I knew if I put in a good time I’d be in with a good chance.”

The 11-year-old stallion has recently returned to competition having had some time off for semen collection. His comeback began two weeks ago at Newark and Nottinghamshire County Show.

“He’s stepped up again here and I’ll be jumping him in the Alltech Grand Prix [for the Kingdom of Bahrain Trophy] on Sunday,” said Billy, adding: “I’ve been coming to Royal Windsor Horse Show for years. It has great facilities and a great atmosphere.”

The Manama Speed Stake proved a happy hunting ground for Laura Renwick, well known as a dangerous rival against the clock. Riding the seven-year-old Ulievka de Breve, Britain’s leading lady rider took and held the lead from fellow countryman Robert Smith aboard Candy Boy.

The day’s remaining international class, the Land Rover Stakes, culminated in a 13 horse jump-off. The result was another victory for the home country with Danny McGlynn and Atletico Van D’Abelendreef taking first place ahead of Harry Charles, son of Olympic Gold Medallist Peter Charles, and Vivaldi du Dom.

SHOWING: WIN FOR THE QUEEN

Watched under the eagle eye of a delighted owner, Her Majesty The Queen’s successful campaigner Barber’s Shop, ridden by Katie Jerram, won the retraining of racehorses class having finished second in the ladies hunters on the first day.

Newmarket-based Simon Charlesworth landed the cob and hack titles for the second year running, the former with last year’s victor Fait Acobbli and the hack championship with the exciting novice Mountstephen Showman.

Robert Walker, of Tarporley, Cheshire, continued his winning run to score two more victories today when the cobs Randlestown Rolex and Starry Night headed their class to add to his three wins on the first day.

ENDURANCE: BAHRAIN CLINCH VICTORY

Three riders shared the honours at the third Royal Windsor Endurance 120km CEI2* competition today. First, second and third places were awarded equally to His Highness Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Murbarak Al Khalifa of Bahrain, and Raed Mahmood, also from Bahrain, when they recorded the same finish time of five hours 33 minutes and 11 seconds. In fourth position, with a time of 05:45:02, was David Yeoman of Great Britain, and fifth was Enora Boulenger of France in 06:00:10.

By the end of the day all horses were either safely back at the venue or already on their way home after a wonderful day’s sport.

Saturday Highlights

The highly anticipated CSI3* Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup kicks off the afternoon session and is set to be a thrilling class. Once again there will be a feast of equine entertainment taking place throughout Saturday with performances carrying on into the evening, including the Musical Ride of The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and the Musical Drive of The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact Hollie Bostock, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: hollie@revolutionsports.co.uk, T: +44 207 592 1207.

Royal Windsor Horse Show takes place on 13-17 May 2015. Over 50,000 visitors are expected to attend the 72nd year of the Royal Windsor Horse Show which offers its audience astounding displays in the main Castle Arena, such as The Musical Ride from the Household Calvary and The King’s Troop Musical Drive, the DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games and The Shetland Pony Grand National. As well as the equestrian competitions and activities, there are over 230 shops in the Shopping Village, with a wide range of goods for sale, from jewellery and fashion, to food and drink. HM The Queen has attended every year since it started in 1943 and it is the only time of the year that the private grounds of Windsor Castle are open to the public. Royal Windsor Horse Show is organised by HPower Group, also organisers of Olympia, The London International Horse Show www.hpower.co.uk.

Royal Windsor Horse Show’s official charity is the ABF Soldiers Charity. The show was first set up in 1943 by King George VI in order to raise funds for the war effort and has ever since continued to donate thousands of pounds to veterans and serving soldiers in need of help.

Carl Hester Wins at Windsor

Carl Hester and Nip Tuck.

May 14th 2015 – The wet weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the spectators today at Royal Windsor Horse Show who were treated to an array of displays, including a winning performance from Olympic team gold medalist and Show favourite Team GBR’s Carl Hester.

DRESSAGE: CARL HESTER ON TOP FORM

Carl Hester and Nip Tuck members of the British silver medal team at the World Equestrian Games last year, led from the front to win the international grand prix at Royal Windsor Horse Show.

It was the third international win for the pair this year, albeit their score fell just half a percent short of their personal best scored in Barcelona in March.

“It felt like a personal best to me,” said Carl who owns the Dutch-bred gelding with Jane de la Mare. “I think that is the best he’s ever gone. Last year here he felt so green and this year he felt like a really experienced horse.”

The pair is now aiming for this year’s British team for the European Championships to be held in Aachen, Germany. “I was hoping that the ‘up and comings’ might get a go – we are getting more depth and riders available as tonight showed but I will be available if they need me” said Carl who trained almost half of the 12 strong class.

His pupil Fiona Bigwood came closest with her Danish-bred mare Atterupgaards Orthilia who ably demonstrated great natural lift in piaffe and passage. Fiona acquired the mare 18 months ago then last April suffered a serious fall that left her out of the saddle for six months.

“I had to put all the horses on the back-burner,” said Fiona who too was just short of a PB with the mare. Orthilia, however, was the first horse she got back on after her accident.

“She is the kindest horse ever – I love riding her and love her to bits,” said Fiona who is also aiming for a place on the team this year having won team silver at the WEG in 2010.

“My main goal is to try for a place for Rio next year but to be honest I take every show as it comes” she said.

Dutch rider Katja Gevers and her 15-year-old gelding Thriller took third place with their best score so far this year while British rider Alice Oppenheimer and Headmore Delegate, took fourth with a score just short of 70%.

“I would have liked to have made the 70% but he was a good boy and the spotlights do make it quite a spooky arena,” said Alice who trains the British-bred Delegate with Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin.

Packed stands are expected tomorrow night not only for the grand prix freestyle to music but also a rare chance to see a dressage Masterclass before the class with Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin.

Chester Weber
Chester Weber

DRIVING: WEBER LEADS THE LANDROVER INTERNATIONAL DRIVING GRAND PRIX

Twenty-six horse four-in-hand competitors from ten nations took part in the dressage phase of the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix. Three of the top four steered smoothly through driving rain, keeping focus to record highly competitive scores.

In top spot is 2014 winner, Chester Weber from the USA, driving the team of warmblood bays he drove last year. In second place is the reigning indoor and outdoor world champion, Boyd Exell from Australia, who has claimed several previous titles here at Royal Windsor. Hot on his heels comes Netherlands’ most successful driver, Ijsbrand Chardon, who has more championships and world titles to his name than any other driver.

Fewer than 1-5 penalties separate first to third placings which will make for breath-holding competition in Saturday’s cross-country marathon. President of the Jury, Andrew Counsell, remarked, “There was little to choose between the top three – it was just a matter of loss of rhythm or a slight lack of suppleness here and there. They will have everything to play for on Saturday which will make an exciting day for spectators.”

SHOW JUMPING: INTERNATIONAL SHOW JUMPING IN A ‘UNIQUE’ SETTING

Britain’s Jordan Marshall, 17, claimed her first senior international win at Royal Windsor Horse Show riding Unique in the CSI1* Thames Speed Stakes. Inclement weather didn’t affect the mood of the competitive field, of which seven remained faultless.

Jordan Marshall riding Unique
Jordan Marshall riding Unique

The former successful pony rider was drawn late to go in the speed contest and finished with a huge four-second advantage over late-charging runner-up MacKenzie Ray (Audrey) and the former leader Emily Moffitt (Ferox B) of the USA.

Moffitt had better fortunes in the following St George Two-Phase, riding HHS Fafa. With the advantage of final draw, Emily snatched the lead from British long-time leader Sophie Tobin (Quite Cadiz).

The USA’s former Olympic gold medallist Laura Kraut and Thalis de la Rougue claimed their second national show jumping win of the week in the Land Rover Grades B and C Handicap. Meanwhile, Britain’s Mavis Spencer and Marchello, took the Olympic Star Spotters top prize, and her fellow countryman Max Routledge (Carus Royale) claimed the Grades A and B Jumping Competition.

SHOWING: DAY OF DOUBLES

For the second year running, Colchester-based breeder Lisha Leeman landed the in-hand coloured championship. Last year Kellythorpes Master Key took the hotly-contested title and this year’s star, also a two-year-old, was Kellythorpes Kinky Boots. The Showing section’s furthest-travelled competitor, John O’Groats-based Russell Skelton, took reserve with his two-year-old, Freckleton Unbelievable.

Across in the working hunter ring, Oxfordshire-based Libby Cooke took the overall title for the second year running with Douglas Reid-Scott’s victorious heavyweight, Harley Foxtrot.

Friday Highlights

The highly anticipated CSI3* Bahrain Pearl Stakes takes place in the Castle Arena at the start of the afternoon session, which is set to be an exciting competition. Great Britain’s Carl Hester returns to compete in the CDI3* International Freestyle Grand Prix competition taking place at 18:30 in the Castle Arena.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact Hollie Bostock, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: hollie@revolutionsports.co.uk, T: +44 207 592 1207.

Royal Windsor Horse Show takes place on 13-17 May 2015. Over 50,000 visitors are expected to attend the 72nd year of the Royal Windsor Horse Show which offers its audience astounding displays in the main Castle Arena, such as The Musical Ride from the Household Calvary and The King’s Troop Musical Drive, the DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games and The Shetland Pony Grand National. As well as the equestrian competitions and activities, there are over 230 shops in the Shopping Village, with a wide range of goods for sale, from jewellery and fashion, to food and drink. HM The Queen has attended every year since it started in 1943 and it is the only time of the year that the private grounds of Windsor Castle are open to the public. Royal Windsor Horse Show is organised by HPower Group, also organisers of Olympia, The London International Horse Show www.hpower.co.uk.

Royal Windsor Horse Show’s official charity is the ABF Soldiers Charity. The show was first set up in 1943 by King George VI in order to raise funds for the war effort and has ever since continued to donate thousands of pounds to veterans and serving soldiers in need of help.