Tag Archives: Carl Hester

Princes, Prima Donnas, and Proving Carl Wrong

(L to R) Nip Tuck, groom Alan Davies, and Carl Hester. (FEI/Cara Grimshaw)

On his debut as a roving reporter, Shetland social media influencer Beachboy Jasper visits Carl Hester’s yard in Gloucestershire, England where he gets the lowdown on some of the inmates. His timing isn’t perfect because the big names have just gone hacking in the morning sunshine. But Bella the Broodmare is at home, and she’s more than pleased to show him around and spill the beans about some of the most popular personalities in the sport of Dressage….

“Don’t worry about the dogs,” says Bella, as I’m surrounded by at least a dozen of them jumping and barking with excitement. I’m not bothered because when you’re handsome, debonair, and sophisticated then being the centre of attention is all in a day’s work. But I get a bit of a fright when a flock of ferocious two-legged things come thundering towards me, led by a colossal beast with its tail-feathers fanned out and shrieking at the top of its head.

“Don’t worry about that lot either – it’s just peacocks and chickens and ducks and guinea fowl. There are so many attention-seekers around this place – it’s mad, to be honest!” Bella says with a giggle.

I compose myself as best I can while keeping a beady eye on the peacock that seems to be stalking me, and ask what life has been like over the last few months while most of us ponies and horses have had nowhere to go with competitions called off because of the people-virus? “Well Carlos Santana has been fussing about managing the finances and running the yard – all that ‘I’ve got staff and I’m responsible for so many people’ stuff y’know? But I reckon he’s enjoyed every minute of it. Anyway, he’s back teaching again this week so that’s keeping him quiet,” she explains.

It’s a lovely yard, and I peek over the door of the stable normally occupied by Valegro who, I’m told, is nearly as good a mover as myself. He’s won a few shiny things and people make a lot of fuss of him. At home he’s called Blueberry, so what is he like?

“A gentleman to his tippy-toes,” she says. “He never made a fuss about all the big wins he had, never bowed to the pressure or changed his personality; he’s always stayed humble, always helpful, and extremely happy to see everybody. He loves a good cuddle, especially from children. But boy [I knew there had to be a weak spot], does he like his grub!”

I’m admiring him even more now, sounds like my kind of chap. “Even the year he went to the Olympic Games in London (2012) and won double-gold, he couldn’t control his appetite.

“You’ve never seen anything like it; there’s nothing he doesn’t eat. He goes on and on about his diet and controlling his waistline, but he just can’t seem to stop himself!”

Bella can’t seem to stop herself either, now that she’s on a roll she wants to dish all the dirt. “Y’know, there are days when this nice lady called Tricia Gardiner comes to hack him out and the pair of them are gone for hours. Not because he’s doing any real work. No, it’s just that she’s not strong enough to hold him when he drags her into every hedgerow along the way so he can nibble the nice pickings. He comes back munching bits of twigs and sticks and branches and looking very pleased with himself every time – he’s unreal!”

Not what I was expecting to hear about the horse who has set more world records than most of us have had bran mashes, but you can tell that Bella really admires him. “Charlotte (Dujardin) rode him beautifully, and I think he was always grateful that Carl was there to help her handle the pressure at the big events. He achieved so much, and we’re all very proud of him here – Blueberry is a prince!” she insists.

However, she doesn’t feel quite the same about Mount St John Freestyle, the mare, also ridden by Charlotte, who brought home two medals from the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) 2018 in Tryon, USA and who won the FEI Dressage World Cup™ qualifier at London Olympia (GBR) last season.

“Now there’s a bossy one,” says Bella with a bit of a growl. “She’s a right prima donna; it’s all about her; she wants everything and she wants it ‘now!’ She wants to be fed before everyone else, she wants to come in from the field when she wants to come in – not two minutes later, she only wants to go out if it’s nice and sunny because she doesn’t want to get wet or have a hair out of place even if it’s only slightly windy or rainy. She’s a bit annoying, if you ask me.…

“At least now she’s learned that she does actually have to do a day’s work. And OK, she’s good at it, but she’s been building up a bit of a fan-club and that’s just making her fancy herself even more. She’s a right one, I’m telling you!”

So I move on to ask about Nip Tuck, who I’ve heard is a bit of a character. “We call him Barney and, to be honest, he’s a head-case but a very sweet one. He’s part of the gang that go out in the field at night-time. There are 18 horses here and only eight live out at night… the ‘normal’ ones go out during the day and the daft ones at night so they can run the Grand National if they like, but at least they have their brains in their heads when it comes to working the following morning.”

It seems Bella has a big soft spot for Barney. “He’s hysterical; he’s tipped Carl off a good few times because he’s scared of his own shadow. He’s a big fellow and should be brave as a lion but instead he’s really spooky and scared of a mouse! I remember him telling me how he fell on Carl when he got a huge fright because a waiter dropped a tray as he was passing by at a show (at Aachen, Germany European Championships in 2015), but sure he’s done that here at home too. They were going out the gate at the end of the avenue one day and something scared him, and he went into reverse and knocked down the gate-pillars – mad stuff! And Carl came home from the Olympics in Rio (2016) with whiplash because he spun around during a test for no real reason at all – Barney couldn’t even explain it himself afterwards!”

But he took team silver at those Europeans in Aachen, and again at the WEG in Caen in 2014 and in Rio in 2016, so how did Barney manage to do all that if he’s such a scaredy-cat? “I think it’s because there were no big expectations of him. Carl used to say, ‘Barney will never do this, he’ll never do that, he’ll never be a championship horse, he’ll never do a Grand Prix, he’ll never get around that ring in Olympia.’ But he did all of those things because he tried really hard. He even won at Olympia which he says is the scariest arena in the world because the spectators are almost sitting on top of you. And he did it not once, but twice. In the end I reckon he did it all because he really enjoyed proving Carl wrong!” Bella says.

All this talk about working so hard is a bit exhausting. I ask the mare if it’s been boring having to #stayhome and not do very much over the last few months. “No, quite the opposite; we all had a really nice time, lots of freedom, lovely grass, sunny weather, sunbathing all day – it’s been dreamy actually,” she explains. So how is everyone feeling about getting back to work now that things are slowly starting again?

“Well we’ve got two completely different attitudes here. Charlotte is preparing like the Olympic Games might suddenly and miraculously come back to life this year even though we know they won’t be happening until next summer. She’s off to Hickstead in a few weeks for something called the Rotterdam Hickstead online challenge and she can’t wait.

“But Carl? Well he has no intention of putting himself under pressure until he absolutely has to. Charlotte doesn’t call him ‘Grandad’ for nothing you know….”

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Dujardin Delights with Freestyle Win as British Dominate at Olympia

Charlotte Dujardin with Mount St John Freestyle. (FEI/Jon Stroud)

Charlotte Dujardin produced a superb victory with Mount St John Freestyle before an ecstatic home crowd at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League qualifier in the Grand Hall at Olympia, London (GBR). And to put the icing on the British Christmas cake, her compatriots Carl Hester and Charlotte Fry lined up in second and third.

It was an evening of great theatre, with Dujardin’s charming 10-year-old mare producing a stunning test for a mark of 87.520 to take the lead when fourth-last to go, only for a technical hitch to delay the scores of the three who followed. Still waiting for the final result, the riders were all sent back to the stables while Santa took over the arena for his Christmas Finale. But finally, the red carpet was rolled back out again, and it was Dujardin who led the British victory gallop.

She was delighted with the performance of her mare who has clearly matured a great deal since showing her massive potential at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA where she claimed two bronze medals. Freestyle’s freshness and freedom of movement, the elegance and height of her passage, and the expressiveness of her extended canter were just some of the highlights. And the horse really seemed to be enjoying herself, her big ears pricked as she gave her rider her full attention.

“It’s only her third time doing that test; she’s very inexperienced at Freestyle and I’m so pleased with her. The atmosphere was buzzing, it was a full house, and I could really feel it when I rode in. But she’s coping better and I couldn’t have asked any more from her!” said the winning rider who, though still only 34 years old, is a legend of the sport following her world-beating career with the now-retired Valegro.

Her friend and mentor, Hester, followed her into the ring and put a score of 84.470 on the board with a lovely performance with Hawtins Delicato. “A personal best – I can’t believe that at my age!” laughed the 52-year-old who has long been a huge influence in this sport. He was sitting back in the stable area when he learned his result – “One of my girls texted me and said you got an amazing score – it was a bit of a weird way to hear about it!” he added.

Fry was second-last to go, and the 23-year-old, who alongside Dujardin and Hester was a member of the British side that finished fourth at this summer’s FEI European Championships, produced a score of 82.620 with the 10-year-old stallion Everdale. This was good enough to pip the final partnership, and last year’s Olympia winners, Germany’s Frederic Wandres and Duke of Britain who finished a close fourth with 82.550 this time around.

Hester said that although he was happy with the way things turned out, he realises he needs to put more pressure on himself, because he continues to have big ambitions. “It was clear after the Grand Prix test yesterday that this horse needs to get out more. I know I need to get myself committed – this happens before every Olympics!” said the man who has competed at five of them, taking team gold with Uthopia at the London 2012 Games, and team silver with Nip Tuck at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Dujardin confirmed that she has both the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2020 in Las Vegas, USA in her sights now. So her plan? “Just to carry on doing what I’m doing and see how we go as we prepare for Tokyo. I’m hoping to get to Vegas in April, so I’ll go to the qualifier in Amsterdam in January and maybe another after that,” she explained.

She was twice winner of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ title with Valegro, taking her second title in Las Vegas in 2015. This result sees her move up to eighth on the Western European League table from which the top nine will qualify for the 2020 Final, so she may need another good result to ensure she makes the cut.

There are still five legs of the Western European series left to go, the next taking place at Mechelen, Belgium on 29 December.

Result here.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Brits Dominate at Olympia with a Second One-Two-Three

Britain continued to dominate on day two of Olympia, The London International Horse Show with another sensational win for Charlotte Dujardin in the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound.

The day kicked off with the Services Jumping Championship, the ultimate accolade for military riders, which was won by LCpl Holly Hall representing The Royal Logistic Corps. LCpl Hall’s double clear aboard WKD San Remo proved the only faultless performance of the class. Squadron Leader Elise Kidd and Wing Commander Laurie Tostevin, both from the Royal Air Force, battled it out for second and third place, respectively, finishing on four faults with the second-round time being the deciding factor.

The Musical Ride of The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and Jean-François Pignon once again had the crowd on its feet with spectacular performances and the iconic 2019 edition of the Christmas Finale supported by The Hilton London Olympia premiered to great acclaim.

Britain’s ‘Queen of Dressage’ Charlotte Dujardin lived up to all expectations, riding Mount St John Freestyle to a euphoric victory in the FEI Dressage World Cup Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound, scoring an impressive 87.52%. Having won Monday’s FEI Dressage World Cup Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound by a comfortable margin, Charlotte rose to the occasion, with a near-perfect rendition of her new freestyle routine, The Snow Queen.

With the top three places replicating the previous night’s result, British riders once again dominated. Carl Hester and Hawtins Delicato showed what they are capable of to take second, with a personal best score of 84.47%. with Britain’s newest superstar, Lottie Fry and the spectacular stallion Everdale also smashing the 80% barrier, finishing on 82.62%, their second personal best of the show.

This was Charlotte’s fourth win in the FEI Dressage World Cup qualifier at Olympia, her first with the Fidermark mare. Speaking after her victory, Charlotte said: “This was her third ever Freestyle. The crowd felt even closer than last night and it was quite a difficult floorplan. She really tried and listened to me; I couldn’t ask for more. I’ve had my highs and lows this year [referring to disqualification in the Grand Prix at the European Championships] and it is great to end the year with such a positive ride.”

Carl Hester, who was disappointed with his previous day’s performance, said: “What a difference a day makes. I have a big smile today. His last Freestyle was at the European Championships this summer, where he had a meltdown. What a way to finish the season.”

Under-25 European Champion Lottie Fry, who rode to new music she had received just a week ago, was still pinching herself after previous day’s third place: “I don’t think it’s sunk in yet and it won’t sink in for quite a while,” said Lottie. “We trained hard in the lead up to Olympia and everything fell into place. I dare to dream that next year will be an exciting year.”

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics around the corner, judge Andrew Gardner was particularly pleased with Britain’s domination: “These horses are young, so there is more to come. This is my favourite show and judging horses of this calibre here is such a treat.”

Olympia was the sixth of 11 qualifiers in the 2019-20 FEI World Cup dressage series, which culminates with the final in Las Vegas in April.

Please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester Confirmed for FEI Dressage World Cup at Olympia

Charlotte Dujardin CBE and Carl Hester MBE have confirmed that they will be bringing their best horses, Mount St John Freestyle and Hawtins Delicato, to Olympia, The London International Horse Show, and with the 2020 Olympics fast approaching, the Show will form an important part of their Olympic preparations.

Mount St John Freestyle will be making her competitive debut at Olympia, and having picked up two bronze medals at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games, is widely regarded as one of the favourites for Tokyo 2020, bidding to win Dujardin a fourth Olympic Gold.

Announcing her participation, Dujardin said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be returning to Olympia for 2019. Being able to compete on Mount St John Freestyle at the Show for the first time is incredibly exciting and will also provide a valuable stepping stone ahead of the 2020 Olympics. The audience at Olympia is incredible and will prepare us for the crowds in Tokyo.”

Dujardin’s 2018 Olympia ride, Hawtins Delicato, will be back with regular partner Carl Hester, rekindling the formidable partnership that won them team bronze at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018 and FEI Dressage Nations Cup team gold in Compiègne, France earlier this year.

Hester and Dujardin will go head-to-head in the FEI Dressage World Cup Grand Prix and FEI Dressage World Cup Freestyle to Music, both supported by Horse & Hound, on Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 December. The format of the Grand Prix is the second year of a pilot scheme which includes a more precise test and stronger audience interaction.

“Olympia is the show I look forward to every year and this December I’ll be competing on Hawtins Delicato,” said Hester. “Performing under the roof of Olympia Grand is always such a unique experience and the crowds are so encouraging. It’s exciting to see the revised new format take shape and to see the Show coming up with new and innovative ways of connecting with the audience. I know this year will be a huge success!”

Organisers have reviewed the format of the Grand Prix since last year and have taken the most popular elements from 2018, such as live interviews with the competitors in the arena immediately after their test as they watch the scores come in. The test itself has also been updated, with all the classic Grand Prix characteristics present and attention paid to maintaining the flow of the movements whilst also demanding the highest level of technical ability, athleticism, and precision to satisfy FEI Dressage World Cup standards and qualification requirements.

Richard Davison, Dressage Consultant to the Olympia Organising Committee, who has been working together with the FEI on the project, commented: “We have been working hard to develop a concept which maintains the FEI Dressage World Cup Grand Prix as the ultimate technical test which reflects the highest degree of difficulty, whilst also widening its appeal to new audiences. The aim is to strike a balance for both competitors and fans and this pilot marks a significant step in achieving our goals.”

Simon Brooks-Ward, Show Director, said: “We are always looking for ways to make the action at Olympia as entertaining, dynamic, and educational for our audience as possible.  We are confident that the second year of the Dressage Grand Prix pilot will be met enthusiastically by our audience. Not only do we have the competition, but we are also introducing ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ hosted by Carl Hester, Richard Davison, and Gareth Hughes which gives a 90 minute deep dive into dressage and what it means to compete at an international level. The whole evening is set to be a feast for dressage enthusiasts.”

To purchase tickets for Olympia, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0871 230 5580.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Olympia Announces ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ Presented by Hester, Hughes, and Davison

Organisers of Olympia, The London International Horse Show are delighted to announce that a brand-new event, ‘Dressage Unwrapped’, will take place on Monday 16 December at 4pm. Under the glass roof of Olympia Grand, three of Britain’s most celebrated dressage riders, Carl Hester, Gareth Hughes, and Richard Davison, will unwrap the secrets of dressage for the Olympia audience.

In a ninety-minute event they will explore all aspects of dressage, including producing, training, and managing dressage horses, what it means to compete, and how to cope with the pressures of competition. There will be plenty of entertaining discussion between the three of them and perhaps a few disagreements along the way. Whatever happens, the crowd will certainly learn something and definitely be entertained.

Hester, Hughes, and Davison will invite some of their well-known equestrian friends as students to help them demonstrate their points. To date these include Performance Manager to Britain’s Senior Eventing Team, Richard Waygood, and one of Britain’s best loved eventers, Olympic, World, and European Medalist Pippa Funnell. Further celebrated equestrian guests are to be announced in the near future.

Ticket holders for the Monday evening performance, which includes the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix, will have exclusive access to the ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ session.

Olympia Show Director, Simon-Brooks Ward, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be hosting our first ever ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ at this year’s Show and are proud to be welcoming Carl, Gareth, Richard, Pippa, and Richard to the arena. I’m looking forward to hearing about the other mystery guests.

“I know this is going to be a very entertaining event, but I hope it will also be educational and provide some great insights into dressage. It will really add to Monday’s Olympia performance.”

‘Dressage Unwrapped’ will take place on Monday 16 December, at 4pm, as a part of Monday’s already publicised mix of displays from The Shetland Pony Grand National, The Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry, Jean François Pignon and his new ‘Black and White’ display, and the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound.

To purchase tickets for Olympia, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0871 230 5580.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Behind the Scenes with Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin ahead of Royal Windsor Horse Show

Ahead of competing at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show, we were given a sneak preview of the training regime of Olympic gold medallists, Charlotte Dujardin CBE and Carl Hester MBE, as they prepare for the CDI4* Al’Shiraa Dressage Grand Prix and Freestyle competitions at Royal Windsor on the evenings of Thursday 10th and Friday 11th May.

Dujardin, who will be riding Mount St John Freestyle, her new Grand Prix horse and FEI World Equestrian Games™ hopeful, said, “I’m really excited about going to Windsor. I used to compete there Showing as a child, so it’s got some really great memories for me. It’s an incredible setting and to have the British crowd behind me will make it even more special. The Dressage always has an amazing atmosphere there; it’s usually under the floodlights at night, which makes it really unique – Mount St John Freestyle is going to absolutely love it and I’m looking forward to it so much!”

Exclusive behind-the-scenes access with the renowned duo indicated preparations were full steam ahead as Hester and Dujardin set their sights on Royal Windsor, and the jam-packed competition year ahead. Although competing against each other, Dujardin’s mentor, team mate and fellow competitor shared his joys of competing and his hopes for returning to defend his title, this year aboard Hawtins Delicato:

“I won my first championship medal at Royal Windsor back in 2009. The backdrop is sensational; there is nowhere quite like it. I remember competing to music under the lights with 8,000 people there that night watching me; it was very surreal, especially having the castle lit up in the background.”

Hester continued, “Since then Charlotte has won the Grand Prix and I won the Grand Prix there last year, so we have both had a turn at it, which is nice – keep it in the family and share the win! This year I am predicting that Charlotte will win it; her horse is sensational. We call her Mrs Valegro after our all-time star, Valegro, who won three Olympic gold medals. Watch this space!”

To see the Dressage action at Royal Windsor Horse Show first hand, or to find out more, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester Head to Royal Windsor Horse Show

Royal Windsor Horse Show is delighted to announce that leading British Dressage riders, Carl Hester MBE and Charlotte Dujardin OBE, will join the competitive line-up at the Show this May (9-13) when it celebrates its 75th year.

The Al Shira’aa Grand Prix and Freestyle to Music, taking place on the evenings of Thursday 10 and Friday 11 May, respectively, will attract some of the world’s greatest riders as they head to the private grounds of Windsor Castle for the CDI 4* FEI Dressage competition.

After captivating crowds with her auspicious prospect, Mount St John Freestyle, during a demonstration at Olympia, The London International Horse Show last December, the triple Olympic champion, Charlotte Dujardin and her new Grand Prix partner will be gracing the Castle Arena at Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Dujardin and the nine-year-old Hanoverian mare, who has been nick-named ‘Mrs Valegro’, recently took the Dressage world by storm after achieving an 81% debut Grand Prix score at the recent national show in Hartpury. The duo is anticipated to be Team GB medal contenders at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) this September and will be competing at Royal Windsor Horse Show as part of their road to WEG campaign.

Charlotte Dujardin, OBE, said: ‘I’m really looking forward to Royal Windsor this year, and I am especially excited to showcase Freestyle’s talent to the British public. Freestyle has been performing so well this season so a win at Windsor would be really special.’

Joining Dujardin will be Carl Hester, Team GB representative, who will be trying his luck with Hawtins Delicato, a 16.3hh British Hanoverian gelding. Hester will also be looking towards WEG team selection with Delicato, who also recently made his national Grand Prix debut, scoring 76.8%.

Hester, who has many years of international success and experience, is no stranger to winning at Royal Windsor, having taken the 2017 title riding Barolo, and is a sure contender for prime podium position.

Carl Hester, MBE, said: ‘Royal Windsor is such a unique Show; the setting is like no other and the competition is always fantastic. It is great being back after winning here last year. Delicato and I are looking forward to giving Charlotte and Freestyle a run for their money!’

Royal Windsor will give WEG hopefuls the invaluable opportunity to compete in front of a WEG Dressage judge, an element that is expected to draw in many of the biggest international Dressage names to the Castle Arena.

To see the Dressage action at Royal Windsor Horse Show first hand, or to find out more, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

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