The British Olympic Association (BOA) confirmed on Friday, July 22 the four dressage athletes and their horses who will compete for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Although Great Britain has never won an Olympic dressage medal, a recent improvement in form could buck the trend
The selected riders, who were nominated to the BOA for selection to Team GB by the British Equestrian Federation, will compete at Greenwich Park this summer on the 2nd, 3rd, 7th and 9th August. They are, for the team:
• Laura Bechtolsheimer riding Mistral Hojris
• Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro
• Carl Hester riding Uthopia
The athlete selected to Team GB to contest the individual competition is:
• Richard Davison riding Artemis
London will be Carl Hester and Richard Davison’s fourth Olympic Games, and Laura Bechtolsheimer’s second after making her Olympic debut in Beijing 2008. While London 2012 will be Charlotte Dujardin’s Olympic debut, she has already made a substantial mark on the international dressage world during her short career to date, with her exciting horse Valegro.
Although Great Britain has never won an Olympic dressage medal, a recent improvement in form could buck the trend this summer. Laura Bechtolsheimer, Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester were all part of the quartet that won a historic gold medal at the 2011 European Championships, where Hester scooped two individual silver medals and Bechtolsheimer took home a bronze.
All four riders boast records to their names. Dujardin recently broke the world and British record in the Grand Prix Special test at Hagen in May, scoring 88.022% and Bechtolsheimer also bettered her own British Grand Prix Freestyle record, scoring an impressive 87.60%. Hester now holds the British record in the Grand Prix test of 83.30%.
European medallist Richard Davison is also no stranger to success and has returned to international competition in fighting form in the last couple of years with Artemis, with whom he has scored a number of international wins and placings. The combination finished fifth in the 2012 Reem Acra FEI World Cup.
Richard Davison, sponsored byWOW Saddles, said: ‘To ride in the Olympics is the greatest honour a rider can ever have and to do it in front of the home crowd in London will be a once-in-a-lifetime privilege. But I’m really happy for Artemis’ owners, sponsors, home team and supporters who have believed in this horse since the beginning and deserve this moment.’
All four athletes compete as individuals, but only three athletes (Bechtolsheimer, Dujardin and Hester) compete as the team for the Games. The dressage competition encompasses the Grand Prix, the Grand Prix Special and the Grand Prix Freestyle – only three athletes from any nation may compete in the Freestyle competition. Reserve athletes and horses will be announced soon.
With thanks to The Metro.
A brief history
When London last hosted the Olympic Games in 1948 the 10th Duke of Beaufort was President of the Institute of the Horse and Pony Club which was charged with organising the Equestrian competitions on behalf of the FEI. The Three Day Event, with the Cross Country held behind the RMA Sandhurst on Barossa common, was deemed a medal opportunity for the home team, steeped in hunting and racing history.
Sadly it didn’t work out that way during the week of 9th-14th of August. Only two British riders finished: Major Borwick and Liberty in 17th place and Brigadier Bolton on Sylveste,27th. The Duke decided that he would offer his park at Badminton to run an event of Olympic specifications in order to give British riders match practice. Billed as ‘ The most Important Horse Event in Great Britain.’ , the first Badminton Horse Trials ran in April 1949.
With the Olympics returning to London, and Equestrian sports no longer out on a limb at some distant venue, but at the centre of things in Greenwich Park, Badminton Horse Trials will be supporting Equestrian Team GBR’s fund raising efforts for the British intetrnational teams of today and the future . The Trials, which run from 3rd-7th May now hosts riders from all over the world, who will be using it as a final attempt to impress their selectors and Team GBR will have a major presence on site London 1948 spawned Badminton. Badminton 2012 is returning the compliment.
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Our sponsored riders Paul Tapner, Francis Whittington and Kitty King will all be at The Badminton Horse Trials.