The BBC’s Ollie Willians recently wrote a fabulous article supporting Britain’s dressage riders, citing their recent success at Olympia as an indication of Olympic hopes in 2012. Here’s an extract:
Britain’s dressage riders strengthened their Olympic title credentials by sweeping the top four places on successive nights at London’s Olympia.
Three Britons posted huge scores in excess of 83 points at Olympia horse show. Laura Bechtolsheimer won the freestyle title a day after Charlotte Dujardin won the grand prix. Laura Bechtolsheimer said, “I wanted to finish 2011 showing that Alf and I are by no means old news.”
Though some key rivals were absent, the result illustrates Britain’s increasing prominence in the sport. GB won their first European team title in August.
“These are three of what seem to be the top horses in the world,” said Carl Hester, who led Britain to European glory in Rotterdam and picked up two third-places finishes at Olympia this week on board Uthopia. A British team has never before posted such strong dressage results.
Bechtolsheimer and Dujardin, 25, form a youthful core for the British team. Dujardin has spent almost five years working for and learning from Hester at his yard – she calls her GB team-mate “grandad” – and she hailed 2011 as her breakthrough year. “I’m still learning and getting to grips with it all, but for a nine-year-old horse to go in there and do that, you have to pinch yourself,” she said.
“I’ve been to the European Championships, won gold, come to Olympia which was one of my dreams this year, and I won yesterday. I can’t ask for much more.”
Congratulations to WOW-sponsored Richard Davison, who placed fourth in both the Grand Prix and the Freestyle, riding Hiscox Artemis!