Tag Archives: Charlotte Dujardin

Spectacular Dujardin Dominates on Day Three of Royal Windsor Horse Show

CSI5* Show Jumping kicked off on day three of CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show, with five of the world’s top 10 riders taking to the prestigious Castle Arena over the course of the day. The highlight of the evening performance, the CDI4* Al Shira’aa Grand Prix Freestyle to Music, once again saw Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester dominate, taking the top two spots for the second night in succession. Earlier in the day, there was a popular victory for Her Majesty The Queen with her homebred mare, Balmoral Mandarin, in the Highland Showing class.

DRESSAGE: FREESTYLE BY NAME, FREESTYLE BY NATURE

Mount St John Freestyle lived up to her name, winning the FEI Al Shira’aa Grand Prix Freestyle to Music. Ridden by Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin, the pair dominated the class, running away with the victory and was the only one of the 12 combinations to break the 80% barrier with a score of 81.2%.

The nine-year-old mare produced a confident programme that made the most of her off-the-floor paces, impressive passage and extensions.

“That was only her second freestyle and it’s not something we practice at home so I am really happy. Everything she does, she does so well and I can’t ask for more, especially at this stage,” said Charlotte who rode the programme to the music ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ that was originally made for Valegro. “It was Valegro’s very first music and brings back many memories and always gives me goosebumps – and I just love riding to it.”

Carl Hester also chose to introduce Hawtins Delicato to freestyle using a former successful programme, originally used for his Olympic team gold medal horse, Uthopia. Delicato, like Freestyle, however also looked at ease performing to music.

“He felt much more rideable tonight,” said Carl who bought the British-bred gelding as a four-year-old from breeder Judith Davies, and has since bought a sibling. “He is a very exciting horse and at this stage just needs nursing along.”

Former British team rider Gareth Hughes finished one better tonight to make the top three with Don Carissimo and was ‘over the moon’ with the outcome. “That is only his second outing this year and was a whole lot better than the first – he is a real trier,” said Gareth.

Once again the five British riders took the first five places, with British-based Dane Ulrik Moelgaard and Michigan completing the top six.

SHOW JUMPING: D-DAY AT ROYAL WINDSOR AS CSI5* GETS UNDERWAY

Daniel Deusser made a winning debut at Royal Windsor Horse Show, taking the feature class of the day, the 1.50m CSI5* Bahrain Pearl Stakes, in spectacular style. With 16 horses through from the first round, it was an exhilarating jump-off, with an open course encouraging forward riding and leaving no margin for error. As second to go, Canada’s Eric Lamaze and the brilliant Fine Lady 5, one of the fastest combinations on the international circuit, set the pace with a fast and faultless round that was sure to take some beating. Following him into the prestigious Castle Arena, Britain’s Robert Smith, looked like he might pose a serious threat, with an extremely tight turn to the double across the middle of the arena, but he crossed the line in a time 0.58 seconds behind Lamaze, enough for eventual fourth.

As fifth to go in the jump-off, Deusser, riding the fourteen-year-old mare Equita Van T Zorgvliet, rode a beautifully smooth and deceptively fast round to shave 0.15 seconds off the previous fastest time and take the lead, stopping the clock in 37.63 seconds. With 11 riders to follow, the win was by no means certain, but no-one could topple Deusser from pole position. The notoriously fast Emanuele Gaudiano, riding Chalou, posed the biggest challenge as last to go, but despite exceptionally tight turns throughout, his time of 38.22 seconds was only good enough for third place.

Speaking after the class, Deusser said, “I am very happy with my horse Equita Van T Zorgvliet. I know she has a very big stride and is naturally very fast. I saw a bit of Eric’s round, so I knew I had to try hard to beat his time, but everything went well and I’m really happy about that. It’s my first time here at Windsor and I was very impressed when I walked onto the showground; it’s a beautiful showground; there’s a lot of space to ride and it’s great to see such a big crowd on a Friday afternoon. I must say congratulations to the organisers!”

Earlier in the day, it was a Belgian one-two in the opening CSI5* competition of the Show, the Manama Speed Stakes, a 1.45m two phase competition. As first to go, Ireland’s Cian O’Connor set the standard with a double clear aboard Veneno, however compatriot Bertram Allen was the first to lay down the gauntlet, knocking over eight seconds off O’Connor’s time, to put the pressure on the remaining competitors. Belgium’s Francois Mathy Jr, a recent winner at CSI4* Hagen, jumped an impressive round, keeping his foot to the floor throughout and making an exceptionally tight turn to the Big Ben fence at 12, to post a time of 28.93 and take the lead. Crowd favourite, Britain’s John Whitaker, came close to challenging with a time of 30.25, but it was not until the penultimate to go, Wilm Vermeir, riding the twelve-year-old chestnut mare Gentiane De La Pomme, that the lead was jeopardised. Taking a stride out to the planks at 11 and galloping to the last, Vermeir managed to knock 0.27 seconds off Mathy Jr’s time to take the victory.

SHOWING: ROYAL WINDSOR DEBUTANTE TAKES VICTORY

A Welsh Section C stallion was this year’s judges’ choice as Horse & Hound Mountain and Moorland Supreme In-Hand champion. Moorcroft The Master, a 13-year-old bay stallion owned and bred by the Howard family from Wales, looked majestic in the sunshine as he strode away with this most prestigious award.

Janine Sehne’s versatile Connemara mare, Tyan Ma’Lady, was reserve in the capable hands of Sue Deakin, who will partner the eight-year-old in the BSPS Ridden Mountain and Moorland section.

Her Majesty The Queen, who as always took a keen interest in these classes, posted her second win of the Show when her home-bred mare, Balmoral Mandarin, headed her Highland class and stood reserve champion of the breed.

Oxfordshire-based producer Jo Bates clinched The Count Robert Orssich Hack Championship for the second year running with Suzanna Welby’s 2016 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) champion, Elusive, after some of the strongest classes seen for some years. In the Castle Arena finale, the elegant bay pipped the reigning HOYS victor, Young Lochinvar, who won the Small Height division.

The Martin Collins Enterprises Cob Championship went to Lancashire-based home producer Anne Gilliver after a sparkling performance on Sue Benson’s “low-mileage” lightweight winner, Whitegate Dazzler. Although Anne has ridden at the Show before and judged here three times, this was her first Royal Windsor championship and her joy was clear to see.

“I think a lot of this horse — we don’t show him much but he’s so sensible and straightforward that he takes it all in his stride,” she said of the seven-year-old. “However, you never know what’s going to happen so this is the most tremendous thrill.”

DRIVING: A CLOSE CONTEST IN THE LAND ROVER INTERNATIONAL DRIVING GRAND PRIX

Competitors in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix horse pairs class face a close competition after today’s Dressage phase as just five penalty points separate the first four names on the leader board. In first place is last year’s winner here – Lars Schwitte from Germany – who counts his 2017 Royal Windsor win as his most memorable sporting achievement. Driving his KWPNs he drove an accurate test to take the lead less than two penalties ahead of experienced Swiss horse pairs competitor Beat Schenk.

Schwitte’s win was all the more satisfying for him in that he was a late entry. Eager to compete here, he was put on a waiting list by his Federation and the Show, with his entry confirmed only in the last few weeks. As a warm-up, he competed in the Dressage phase at a GB national competition in Essex last weekend where his smooth test impressed those watching. With four international wins to his credit from 2017, he was a member of the silver medal winning team at the Horse Pairs World Championships in Slovenia.

Second-placed Schenk first competed here in 2006, when he won the horse pairs class, repeating this achievement in 2009 and 2011. In 2017, he was third at Royal Windsor, won the international event at Saumur, France and was a bronze medallist at the Horse Pairs World Championships in Slovenia.

Only just behind him in third place is Baroness Amely von Buchholtz from Argentina, a regular competitor here over the years. She took third place in the dressage phase in 2017.

ENDURANCE: ROYAL WINNER AT ROYAL WINDSOR ENDURANCE

Royal Windsor Endurance, supported by The Kingdom of Bahrain, provided another memorable day of sport, and Bahrain itself celebrated a win in the CEI2* with HH Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa riding Vipper De Luriecq coming in first in a time of 05:04:48. Portugal took top honours in the CEI1* with Rui Pereira riding a sublime three laps on Bloodie Mary finishing in 03:33:13.

HH Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa said, “It was an absolute pleasure to be able to ride in Windsor Great Park today and to be able to shake hands with her Majesty the Queen. What a pleasure, aside from winning, to come here and raise my flag and perform.”

British riders were also out in force with 68 entered across the three classes. One notable success was Carri Ann Dark from Wiltshire, who finished a brilliant third in the CEI1* on former Team GB Gelding, HS Drift.

Tickets for Royal Windsor Horse Show are still available via www.rwhs.co.uk.

Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)203 176 0355

Dujardin Dazzles on Second Day of Royal Windsor Horse Show

International competition got well underway on the second day of CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show. The CDI4* Dressage kicked off with the Al Shira’aa Grand Prix which saw Britain’s best duo, Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester, take the top spots aboard their exciting new partners, Mount St John Freestyle and Hawtins Delicato.

DRESSAGE: BRITISH RIDERS LEAD THE WAY

It might have been only the third grand prix together for Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Freestyle but it was another winning one. The pair gained their third victory in The Al Shira’aa Grand Prix with Charlotte heading off trainer, mentor and British team mate Carl Hester with Hawtins Delicato.

Freestyle, a nine-year-old mare owned by Emma Blundell of the Yorkshire based Mount St John stud, belied her main ring inexperience impressing the judges with her ground covering paces and relaxed attitude to the atmospheric arena to produce a winning score of 78.58%.

“I am chuffed to bits with her,” said the British Olympic gold medallist. “She’s so chilled and really takes everything in her stride especially as she has really done next to nothing at this international level – I am so, so happy.”

Carl was equally happy with his ride, the British-bred Hawtins Delicato, who was also competing in only his third Grand Prix and was not far behind the winning score – some judges even had the pair of riders and horses on near equal terms.

“You literally have no idea with these young horses how they will react but this is such a good arena and space and does give you an idea of how they will cope with the big occasion,” said Carl who is aiming Delicato for a team place for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ that will be held in the USA in September. “He is such a lovely horse with so much presence and the judges must, like me, also think highly of him.”

Richard Davison rounded off a British one-two-three, taking third place with his homebred Bubblingh (70.8%) while British riders Hayley Watson-Greaves and Rubins Nite, and Gareth Hughes with Don Carissimo were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Iranian rider and Windsor first-timer Litta Soheila Sohi might have finished at the other end of the leader board but was simply thrilled to be competing at the Show.

“I will never forget this moment,” said Litta, who is aiming to compete in the Asian Games in Jakarta later in the year. “This is no ordinary Show – there is so much going on at the same time; it is overwhelming. Just to be a part of it is as good as winning and I am just thrilled to be through to the freestyle tomorrow night.”

SHOWING: ROYAL WINDSOR DEBUTANTE TAKES VICTORY

Royal Windsor debutante Vikki Smith, from Hapton, Lancs, was as surprised as she was delighted to head the largest section of the Show so far. Riding Michelle Cuerden’s 14-year-old traditional stallion Del Boy, Vikki beat more than 100 entries to take the coveted Coloured Ridden Championship, having topped a line of 35 in her Native and Traditional class.

“I can’t believe a traditional pony could have beaten all the plaited horses,” Vikki said, “but Del Boy is an out-and-out showman and just loves his job.”

She now takes her place in Sunday afternoon’s Royal Windsor Ridden Supreme Showing Championship.

Oxfordshire-based working hunter specialist, Rory Gilsenan, went one better than last year to regain the section title he last won in 2016 with Aoife, the Land Rover Lightweight Working Hunter. His partner this time was Christian Kwek’s versatile mare Kenlis Carrera, class winner and reserve Champion last year, whose fluent clear round was one of only seven over a testing course in a strong Lightweight class. A storming gallop in the Castle Arena finale then clinched the overall title ahead of the Heavyweight class victors, Katy Green and I’m a Diamond, who produced one of only two clears in her division.

Sofia Scott, of Norfolk-based Team Hood, partnered her own former flat racer L’Amiral David to win the ROR Tattersalls Thoroughbred Ridden Show Series, and then stand Champion.

SHOW JUMPING: BRITISH DUO VICTORIOUS ON FIRST DAY OF INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

The opening Show Jumping class of day two, the Land Rover Grades B & C Jumping Competition, went to British Olympic team gold medalist, Ben Maher, riding Eracantos, a horse recently acquired from The Netherlands for which Maher has high hopes for the future. With 12 double clears in the 36 horse class, Maher’s second-half draw proved advantageous as he shaved 0.05 seconds off runner-up Georgia Thame’s round. Tracy Priest, who set the pace from an early draw, finished in third with her grey mare Diamants Aurora.

The first CSI2* Class of the Show, the St George Two Phase, went to Joseph Davison, riding Vilenco, a homebred Je T’Aime Flamenco mare owned by his father, Dressage supremo Richard Davison. Davison’s double clear in a time of 31.20 seconds was 0.14 seconds faster than South African Charles Luyckx in second, with Scarlett Charles, daughter of London Olympic gold medal winning Show Jumper Peter Charles, in third.

Luyckx secured his second runner-up placing of the day in the following class, the CSI2* Thames Speed Stakes sponsored by Suregrow Fertiliser Ltd, which was won by Britain’s Tracy Priest on Caristo VDL. The twisty course allowed riders to take a few risks with tight turns throughout, but it was Priest who negotiated the quickest route to take the victory.

Later in the day, the focus shifted to the young horses of the future, with the Jumping Competition for Six-Year-Old horses. 49 combinations started the 1.20m single phase competition, which proved challenging, with only eight combinations jumping a double clear. William Rekert’s exceptionally speedy round with Hot Bluebird took the spoils, over two seconds faster than Megan James in second, with Alfie Bradstock a further second behind in third.

DRIVING: WORLD-CLASS START FOR WORLD NO.1 IN THE LAND ROVER INTERNATIONAL DRIVING GRAND PRIX

Reigning world champion and eight times Royal Windsor winner, Boyd Exell (AUS), got off to the best possible start in the Horse Four-in-Hands in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, storming to the top of the leader board a clear five penalties ahead of his closest challenger. Driving his mixed team of black Swedish and Dutch horses, his dressage test earned him top marks from all five judges.

“The horses moved beautifully as a team,” remarked President of the Jury, Bert Jambon from Belgium. He continued, “It was an accurate test with, above all, excellent transitions.”

Following him into the arena was Chester Weber (USA) winner at the Show in 2014 and 2015. His bay Dutch horses completed a fluent, forward test, but a few small mistakes put him in second place. Only these two competitors posted scores in the thirties.

In third place, seven penalties behind Weber, is France’s Benjamin Aillaud with his impressive Arab x Friesians. He last competed here ten years ago, after which he took a break from competing horse four-in-hands until just a couple of years ago. GB’s highest placed competitor is Wilf Bowman-Ripley, in 18th place.

Also completing this first dressage phase were the Pony Four-in-Hands which saw last year’s winner Tinne Bax (BEL) take the lead from the Netherlands’ Jan de Boer, who has recorded five previous Royal Windsor wins. Less than two penalties separate these two with Jacqueline Walter (GER) driving her eye-catching palomino team of Welsh Bs taking third place. Great Britain’s Roger Campbell is well in touch in this class in 5th place.

Tickets for Royal Windsor Horse Show are still available via www.rwhs.co.uk.

Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +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

Edward Gal Dominates 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 Edward Gal (NED) was crowned winner of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound.

In addition to the top-class competition, Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester took centre stage to give a dressage masterclass showcasing the training routine of a champion and performances from The Chilean Huasos and the Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch gave the crowd a night to remember. The Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National got off to a flying start with Ollie Proctor and Holydell Sensation passing the post in front to take the first victory of the week.

Popular Dutch dressage rider Edward Gal and the young stallion Glock’s Zonik (76.68%) claimed the FEI World Cup Dressage Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

The win made a cold, slow journey from The Netherlands, that was beset by delays caused by the wintery weather, worthwhile. It was also an impressive display of horsemanship from Gal and talent from the expressive and elegant nine-year-old Glock’s Zonik, who was competing in just his third ever Grand Prix, and now has two wins and a second place on his CV. Highlights of the test include ground covering half-passes and particularly impressive elastic piaffe and passage.

“The journey here was really no fun at all,” said Gal, a winner of the FEI World Cup qualifier at Olympia in 2009 with the record breaking Totilas, before going on to win the FEI World Cup Final later that season. “We left home at 6am on Sunday and finally arrived in London at 6pm on Monday evening, but this win makes up for all that. I was really happy with Zonik especially as it was his first time in such a big atmospheric arena – this is really promising for the future.”

Swedish Olympian Patrik Kittel, who also endured a marathon journey to London, came a close second with the Oldenburg gelding Delaunay (75.10%). The pair performed a well presented and confident error free test. “I am very happy to be here for the second time,” said Kittel. “London is such a great show.”

Olympia debutant Madeleine Witte-Vrees from The Netherlands was third with the bright chestnut Cennin (73.72%), with whom she made her senior championship team debut in this year’s Europeans, while Emile Faurie and Delatio (72.86%) were the highest placed British combination. It was an impressive competitive Grand Prix debut for the pair, who has only been together for two months.

“Tonight’s Grand Prix was quite a challenge for the judges,” said Stephen Clarke, President of the Ground Jury. “They were many good combinations, some exciting expressive horses and scores that were close together.”

Charlotte Dujardin took to the Olympia Grand Hall for the first time since the retirement of her triple Olympic gold medal winning partner, Valegro, this time last year. Riding Mount St John Freestyle, Charlotte was put through her paces by mentor and Olympic team mate, Carl Hester, to display the key attributes and training methods for producing a champion.

Mount St John Freestyle, an eight-year-old Hanoverian mare, nick-named “Mrs Valegro” by Carl during the demonstration, is looking to step up to Grand Prix level next year, with the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games as the target. The composed performance showcased the exceptional talents of both horse and rider, who have already attained several titles together, including the recent Future Elite Championship and the Summer British Dressage National Championship.

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

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

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

Charlotte Dujardin Returns to Olympia Horse Show to Give Medal-Winning Masterclass

Triple Olympic gold medallist, Charlotte Dujardin, will be gracing the Olympia Grand Hall once again as it is announced she will be conducting a Dressage masterclass at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

Dujardin, who retired her Olympic partner Valegro in an emotional ceremony at last year’s Show, will be treating spectators to a dynamic display on Tuesday 12 December 2017. Riding Mount St John Freestyle, part of Charlotte’s post-Valegro generation of horses making their mark on the sport, Charlotte will be demonstrating the skill and patience required to produce young horses.

Charlotte has high hopes for the eight-year-old Hanoverian mare, owned by Mount St John Stud, and is looking to step up to grand prix level next year with the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ as the target. The duo has already attained a number of titles together including the recent Future Elite Championship and the Summer British Dressage National Championship.

Mount St John Freestyle will be put through her paces as Dujardin showcases the training routine of a champion, providing invaluable tips and a wealth of knowledge to equestrian enthusiasts, who will be given a rare insight into her winning secrets.

Charlotte Dujardin CBE said: ‘I’m so excited to be taking Mount St John Freestyle to Olympia this December. I have so many great memories there, from breaking two World Records back in 2014, to Valegro’s retirement last year. The atmosphere in the Grand Hall is always electric, so it will be a great experience for her.’

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, commented: ‘It is wonderful to welcome Charlotte back to Olympia this year. She has an excellent history at the Show and is a fantastic ambassador for Dressage as a sport and young riders looking to follow in her footsteps.’

Charlotte’s Masterclass will take place on the evening of Tuesday 12th December, the opening day of Olympia, the London International Horse Show and the evening of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix. The Show has a stellar line-up of equestrian greats joining Charlotte on centre-stage throughout the week, with racing legends Frankie Dettori and Sir AP McCoy switching disciplines for the Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund on Friday’s ‘Race Night’.

The Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National will see the likes of Champion Jockey Jim Crowley and Aintree Grand National winner Leighton Aspell pass the baton to their children, with Alice Crowley and Lucy Aspell joining Frankie Dettori’s son, Rocco, in the starting line-up.

Seven days of top international sporting action including three FEI World Cup™ competitions in Dressage, Carriage Driving and Show Jumping, are expected to attract many of the world’s best horse and rider combinations. The Chilean Huasos will making their debut, and the Kennel Club Dog Agility will be joining the action, welcoming the country’s most talented dogs and their handlers.

Tickets for most performances, including Tuesday night, are still available.  Tuesday night also sees the release of tickets for the ‘Champagne Box’ offer, details of which are included on the Show’s website.  ‘Double Dressage’ tickets can also be purchased when visitors can benefit from a discount on the Tuesday night ticket if they purchase tickets for both dressage evenings.

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

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