Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Welnetta competing during the 2014 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. (Photo courtesy of SusanJStickle.com)
London, United Kingdom (July 18, 2014) – In her first European Grand Prix CDI of the year, Katherine Bateson-Chandler has validated not only her own horsemanship but six years of instruction and mentorship from friend and trainer, Carl Hester, as the two clinched first and second places together on July 13 in the Hartpury (Great Britain) CDI3* Grand Prix Special.
“It’s great to have a top finish in your first European Grand Prix CDI of the year. It’s even sweeter when the only horse and rider combination to best you is your own coach,” laughed Bateson-Chandler, referring to the 2012 British Olympic Team Dressage Gold medalist. “Carl is a great friend and incredible person, who trains with total empathy for the horse. I could not be more pleased to return to his yard and compete with the best in the world in Europe.”
Hester won the Grand Prix Special on KWPN (Don Ruto x Animo) gelding, Nip Tuck, with a final score of 72.45%. Bateson-Chandler, on Jane Forbes Clark’s KWPN (Hexagon’s Louisville x Rubiquil) mare, Wellnetta, delivered a 66.16% finish for reserve honors against not only her trainer but an exceptionally diverse international field whose top ten riders included competitors representing Russia and Singapore. The pair had opened their weekend at Hartpury with a top ten (64.14%) finish in the CDI3* Grand Prix, also won by Hester, who posted the only (74.60%) score of the class to crack the 70s.
Welnetta, who was born and bred in Europe, and Bateson-Chandler, who was born in the United Kingdom, returned to their roots this season to compete. Based out of Hester’s personal yard, it marks the sixth summer that she and her horses have spent there: “Carl’s is very much like home to us. I have been training with him since 2007 and he and I have very similar thoughts on training and horsemanship. In addition to a structured training program, he believes in hacking horses and lots of turnout, which are also very important to me.” In addition to a long relationship with Hester, she has ridden horses for Forbes Clark for nine years, assuming the role after serving prior to that as Robert Dover’s assistant trainer.
Next is Germany, where its CDIO5*/CDIO4* at Aachen and CDIO4* in Cappeln await. Having set her sights on Europe, after a strong appearance at the US Dressage Festival of Champions in New Jersey earlier in July, the now-U.S. citizen and Wellington, FL, resident, has a strategy: “With the best of the best gearing up for the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, I plan to use the highly-competitive environment to gain more international exposure for both myself and Welnetta. Our European schedule will provide a great opportunity to ride in a number of prestigious shows and gain more experience.”
British team riders Charlotte Dujardin, Michael Eilberg and Carl Hester delighted a full house at the evening performance of the Royal Windsor Horse Show with a one, two, three in the Grand Prix Freestyle.
Charlotte Dujardin and the stallion Uthopia comfortably topped the leaderboard with an energetic freestyle (83.675%). The Olympic Gold Medallist made full use of Uthopia’s powerful extended trot and passage and produced immaculate passage to piaffe transitions and bold riding to a Tom Hunt compilation of music from ‘How to Train Your Dragon’. The pair left the arena to huge applause from the 4,000 strong crowd.
“Tonight he felt fantastic,” said Dujardin. “I got everything I asked for and couldn’t have asked for more.”
Eilberg and Jon and Julie Deverill’s grey mare Half Moon Delphi (79.4%) produced a personal best score with a foot-tapping freestyle to ‘Shake It Like Shakira’, making best use of her huge passage and flying changes.
“With everything going on at the show she has been really lit up so I gave her a bit more time in the warm up and with more breaks to keep her relaxed which paid off and she went really well,” said Eilberg.
Hester and the huge Nip Tuck (75.725%) took third place with a well-managed freestyle – the same one he used at this venue in 2009 at the European Championships – to a compilation of Tom Jones music.
“It is a freestyle designed for horses starting in Grand Prix,” said Hester who acquired the 18hh gelding as a yearling. “I don’t think anyone thought he was particularly going to be anything but he is really starting to come into his own now. His attitude is priceless; he loves his work and is a pleasure to ride.”
British based Dane, Anders Dahl, took fourth with Wie Atlantico de Ymas (74.60%) with British Young rider Lara Griffith fifth on Andretti H (73.80%) the former ride of her trainer, Laura Bechtolsheimer.
Judge Andrew Gardner, President of the Ground Jury for the class, commented: “The top end was really top. Beautiful rides to lovely programmes and music against a beautiful backdrop – it really was a top class evening.”
It is the first time since 2002 that dressage has been included in the five day show that also includes international show jumping, endurance and driving. Hester, a winner of the Grand Prix here in 1996 and 1997 with Legal Democrat, said: “We need to add venues to the British calendar and it is great that Windsor has stepped back in especially with its great surfaces and packed stadiums. British riders don’t get the opportunity to prepare for Championships in this country so to have this venue is fantastic and long may it stay.”
Royal Windsor Spoils Shared between Two Nations
The second running of the Royal Windsor Endurance 120km CEI** competition resulted in a win shared by His Highness Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum of The United Arab Emirates. The two competitors are brothers-in-law, the former being married to a sister of the latter, and a joint win allowed family pride to be more greatly spread.
“We wanted to make both fathers happy – His Majesty King Hamad and my father-in-law His Highness Mohammed Bin Rashid – by crossing the line together,” said HH Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad, who was riding Onirik de Becheral. “He [Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, riding Yamamah] was four minutes ahead of me and when I caught him up we had a bit of a chat. We decide to grab hands and cross the line together.”
The start of the ride was blessed with warm early-morning sunshine as a field of 44 started out on the first loop. The course included a stretch on the turf in front of the stunning Ascot Racecourse Grandstand, before sweeping around the edge of Windsor Great Park. The three loops that followed took in iconic landmarks within the park, including Jubilee Statue, Prince Consort Statue and The Long Walk, and also treated riders to spectacular panoramic views of Berkshire and Windsor Castle.
The victorious Sheikhs had been part of the leading pack from the outset. They had broken away from the rest of the field quickly, but their stronghold became particularly evident by the second loop. Towards the end of the race, the leaders, who were predominantly the winners’ fellow countrymen, were averaging speeds of over 24km/h, with the winning average speed recorded as 24.615km/h.
“It was a great race for me, particularly as I was eliminated last year,” said Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad after finishing. “I loved the race, the track and the competition.”
Sheikh Hasher Bin Mohammed Thani Al Maktoum took third for the UAE with Satanik Larzac, while Bahrain claimed fourth and fifth courtesy of Yacoon Yousif Yacoob Al Hammadi (Plage El Milora) and Hood Ebrahim Ali Husain Bucherri (Sheer Arleta FL Ewalraid).
The highest placed Brit was Harry Ingram, who finished 12th on Bronze Nahdir with an average speed of 21.445km/h.
International Show Jumping Returns
The international Show Jumping got underway yesterday with the Land Rover Speed Stakes which saw Nick Skelton’s Olympic horse, Big Star, return to competition after an eighth month break due to injury. The London 2012 team gold medallist finished in ninth place after picking up 2 penalties, but the first three spots were all taken by other British riders. Headed by Britain’s no. 1 female rider Laura Renwick on Beluga, with John Whitaker and Uni Stop and Tim Stockdale in third riding Fresh Direct Kalico Bay.
Later on in the day the CSI3* Bahrain Pearl Stakes took place with overseas visitors taking the top spots. Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Al Sharbatly took the honours on Andrea, shaving just over two seconds off Shane Breen’s (IRE) time. Back in third was Laura Kraut, whilst Nick Skelton was the best of the Brits taking 5th on eight-year-old Aristio.
The dressage phase of Land Rover International Carriage Driving Grand Prix was completed yesterday, with the USA’s Chester Weber currently leading World Champion Boyd Exell (AUS) by a narrow margin. With Dutch teammates Theo Timmerman and Ysbrand Chardon snapping on their heels in third and fourth, there is everything to play for in the marathon phase of the competition which takes place around Home Park on Saturday.
Once again a feast of equine entertainment will take 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.
09 April 2014 – The first in a series of live events organised by the specialist international equestrian sports and lifestyle network Horse & Country TV has been crowned a “roaring success.” A sell-out crowd and a host of equestrian and British Dressage celebrities flocked to the Bacon Theatre at Dean Close School in Cheltenham last Thursday for an evening with London 2012 Dressage Gold medallists Carl Hester MBE and Charlotte Dujardin OBE.
‘An Evening with Carl and Charlotte’ hosted by H&C TV presenter Jenny Rudall was a sell-out and those lucky enough to bag a golden ticket and make the journey to the Bacon Theatre were not disappointed. The charismatic duo had the audience in fits of laughter one minute, with mouths open wide in amazement the next as they regaled them with their life stories and other anecdotes. The live event was complemented in the theatre by screens showing clips from H&C TV programming which has followed the duo’s progress since Charlotte first arrived at Carl’s yard in 2007.
Carl Hester MBE and Charlotte Dujardin OBE were both part of GB’s Gold medal winning Dressage team at the London 2012 Olympics. Charlotte Dujardin also won Gold in the Individual Dressage.
“Whether we are competing or sitting in a theatre it’s always a pleasure to be in front of a keen and enthusiastic audience, and Charlotte and I had a fantastic evening at the Bacon Theatre,” said Carl Hester MBE.
Charlotte Dujardin OBE added:
“We were received so warmly by everyone and this definitely helps when Carl and I give insights into our journey. It’s a testament to London 2012 that there’s still such a buzz around the event nearly two years on. Winning gold was one of our proudest moments and something we never tire of talking about so we both thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the event and having the audience and our team there.”
Jonathan Rippon, Head of Programming at H&C TV, added:
“It was a fantastic evening, with two Olympic gold medallists; the tickets were like gold-dust and it’ll be television gold when it’s broadcast on H&C TV in June.”
“H&C TV is a well-established broadcast brand and our audience increasingly follows us online as well, but as a business we also want to embrace new opportunities that complement our existing range of activities.
“‘An Evening with Carl and Charlotte’ was H&C TV dipping its toe into the water of branded live events and it proved a roaring success; we couldn’t have been happier. Carl and Charlotte have great chemistry and covered a huge amount of ground over the two-hour event with a few eyebrow-raising revelations seeing the light of day! Everyone seemed to leave smiling so it was a great way to start off this new venture with what is the first of many of these types of events for H&C TV.”
Horse & Country TV broadcasts in the UK and Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Malta, and can be found on the web at www.horseandcountry.tv, www.horseandcountrytv.nl, and www.horseandcountrytv.se. The Channel carries exclusive sports event coverage, news, documentary and personality-led programming to the passionate audience for horse sports and country living. At the UK’s Broadcast Digital Awards H&C won “Best Specialist Channel” in 2011 and was shortlisted in two categories in 2013. Online H&C publishes blogs and commentary provided by a range of experts and personalities, an extensive range of equestrian video, a calendar of events, as well as programme support material for all of the Channel’s featured shows. H&C’s role as a community hub for the horse and countryside loving community is reflected in the Channel’s 500,000+ viewers each month, 115,000+ Facebook fans and 30,000+ followers on Twitter.
London (GBR), 7 August 2012 – You could hardly have scripted it better as Great Britain’s Dressage riders scooped Olympic team gold today. Yesterday the equestrian venue at Greenwich Park resounded to the wild roars of the home crowd as their jumpers topped the team podium for the first time in 60 years. Today it was the turn of Carl Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin to bring spectators to their feet in celebration of the first-ever British Dressage medals in the history of the Games – and, even better, they were also golden ones.
They began the day with a narrow lead over Germany, whose fantastic record includes team gold at the previous seven Olympic and, once in front, the London 2012 host nation riders just wouldn’t let go. And the star of the show was 26-year-old Dujardin who burst onto the Dressage scene just 18 months ago and who sealed today’s result with another fabulous ride on the 10-year-old Valegro.
Germany had to settle for silver while The Netherlands took bronze.
London (GBR), 3 August 2012 – A fabulous performance from Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro ensured that Britain maintains the lead in the team competition after the Dressage Grand Prix concluded at the London 2012 Olympic equestrian venue at Greenwich Park today. But the advantage is a very slender one, as Germany lies only just over half a point behind going into the medal-deciding Grand Prix Special next Tuesday.
The Dutch lie third, boosted by a brilliant test from double Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage champions Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival who slotted into runner-up spot ahead of Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg (Damon Hill) and Kristina Sprehe (Desperados) who claimed third and fourth places individually. There was a time when tense situations really overwhelmed the Dutch rider’s big chestnut gelding, Parzival, but he has learned to cope much better in recent years. However Cornelissen had an un-nerving moment as she rode down to the arena. “He almost stopped and said ‘Aaaagh, what are all those people doing in there?’ But when we got going he said, ‘Oh, I know this stuff’, so it was fine,” the 33-year-old rider said with a laugh afterwards.
London (GBR), 2 August 2012 – Britain’s Carl Hester and Laura Bechtolsheimer got the host nation off to a great start when claiming the top two places in the Grand Prix on the opening day of Dressage at the London 2012 Olympic Games in Greenwich Park today.
But Bechtolsheimer wasn’t content with her score of 76.839 with Mistral Hojris which leaves her just under one percentage point behind her team-mate as the second tranche of riders take on the Grand Prix challenge tomorrow. “I’m pretty gutted for my team that the score didn’t reflect what we thought it would be,” said the 27-year-old British rider who took three silver medals at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky (USA) two years ago with the same horse. “It is by far the lowest percentage that I’ve had in a few years. I hope it is just because the marks are lower here,” she said.
And she may have every reason to be concerned, because the mighty Germans, whose dominance of this sport at Olympic level includes 12 team and seven individual titles, sent out only one of their team members today. That was Dorothee Schneider who steered her lovely young mare, Diva Royal, through a calm and tension-free test to post a score of 76.77 for third place at this halfway stage of the Grand Prix competition.
Wellington, FL (April 12, 2012) – ShowChic, a premier dressage fashion boutique, recently hosted international dressage rider Shannon Dueck during the April 10th ShopTalk, where the top rider discussed everything from her beginnings in Pony Club to her time spent in training with Carl Hester. ShowChic holds the monthly Shop Talks to gather together the dressage community during informative social events. Guests also left with great prizes like gift certificates to ShowChic and products from Vita Flex’s line of equestrian supplements.
Dueck, who trains out of her own Dueck Dressage in Loxahatchee, Florida, told the gathered crowd about her days spent in England training her Grand Prix mare, Ayscha, with Hester. She detailed a day at the prestigious rider’s farm, as well as her experience viewing the grounds and arenas for the upcoming 2012 Olympics in London, where she and Ayscha hope to compete for Canada. “Carl’s training system is strongly based on doing what is right by the horse,” said Dueck. “Each ride starts out with fifteen to twenty minutes of stretching and loosening the horse’s back. Then Carl gets on and trains each horse for about twenty-five minutes. After that all of the horses, the babies and the stallions included, go out for a hack in the fields or on the roads. Carl really enjoys training and gives the horses tons of praise and breaks. It really makes a difference in the way they react to him.” Dueck herself focuses on preserving the horse’s natural joy in her training. “Only when a horse is happy in his work and willing to learn can you be truly successful in your riding.”
Wellington, FL – January 13, 2012 – Organizers of the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach received confirmation on Thursday that Great Britain’s Carl Hester has accepted an invitation to compete at the 2012 WDM Palm Beach, which takes place from January 26th to 28th, 2012. Hester led the British Dressage Team to a historic gold medal at the 2011 European Dressage Championships, and went on to win individual silver riding the nine year old stallion Uthopia. Hester’s exclusive appearance at the WDM Palm Beach will be his first time competing on American soil since he was a member of the British Dressage Team that won a silver medal at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
“We are thrilled that Carl has accepted our invitation to attend the 2012 WDM Palm Beach,” says Noreen O’Sullivan of Wellington Classic Dressage. “We already have an impressive group of world class horses and riders, and the addition of Carl’s name to that list is exciting news for the WDM’s presenting sponsors, for the organizers, and of course for the spectators.”
CORNELISSEN IS THE FREESTYLE QUEEN by Louise Parkes
Rotterdam (NED), 21 August 2011 – The Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen was in a class of her own as she claimed her second gold medal in two days when winning the Grand Prix Freestyle at the FEI European Dressage Championships 2011 in Rotterdam (NED) this afternoon.
Yesterday she was super-cool when topping the Grand Prix Special, despite an error of course that might have unhinged many others, but today she was simply super-confident, ultra-professional and totally concentrated as she steered Jerich Parzival to a flawless performance that left the Freestyle result beyond any doubt. “She did a wonderful job, and was the clear winner of the day,” said Ground Jury President Ghislain Fouarge afterwards.
In a gripping competition filled with all kinds of possibilities, the spectators engaged with every competitor that came into the ring and expressed their opinion each time a result went up on the board. There was a huge roar from the home side when Cornelissen was awarded the winning mark of 88.839, but it was almost matched by the approval registered for the 84.179 achieved by silver medallist Carl Hester from Great Britain who has stolen the hearts of a whole new generation of dressage fans. Bronze went to Sweden’s Patrick Kittel whose foot-perfect test with Watermill Scandic was awarded 83.429.
These Championships have provided a refreshing boost for the sport of Dressage, as a rising tide is exposing a wealth of new human and equine talent while also highlighting the quality of the current stars.