Interview Carl Hester – “It would be nice to take things a little easier for a while…”

09. Nov 12 | 11:05 | By | Category: INTERNATIONAL NEWS, interviews

09 Nov 2012

Carl Hester is one of Great Britain´s finest dressage riders. This year he reached the top of his career when he won the Gold medal with the British team at the London Olympics after over 20 years of riding at the highest level.

Carl´s horse Uthopia is acclaimed as one of the best horses in the world at the moment. Last year both appeared at the Grand Prix arenas – and won team gold and individual medals at the Rotterdam European Championships.

With horseweb.de Carl spoke about his Olympic experience, the rumors about selling Uthopia and the unique experience of being the trainer Charlotte Dujardin the double gold medaillist of London…

 

How did you experience the London Olympics 2012? Was it a dream come true for you to get the gold medal there – you once said this would be your biggest wish for the future…

Of course it was a wish come true, something I had waited 22 years for! It was incredible to get up the podium and get the medal – something I always hoped for really came true. You cannot describe this feeling…

 

Everyone expected the gold medal for the British riders – was there a lot of pressure on you?

Actually I almost felt ill at the Games. Expectations were so high for all of us but obviously with my role as owner, rider and trainer of Charlotte Dujardin – my team member – it was a lot to deal with. There were so many things to concentrate on. And you want to be good when it counts. You want to show the world how good you and your team are.

 

How did you experience all the celebration while and after the games? You have been at several Olympics – were these really the best ever?

Yes, they quite simply were the best ever! Everything was perfect there. The organization, the locations – wonderful. It cannot get better than this!

I celebrated with my friends by going back to the Island of Sark where I was brought up. Forty of my close friends that have been with me from the start came with me for the weekend and we all had a fantastic time.

 

Do you think the Olympics had a positive effect on the sport in Great Britain generally and also on dressage precisely?

Yes, most definitely – I think British Dressage has benefitted from a surge in numbers and the press and TV Coverage has been phenomenal raising the profile of the sport hugely throughout this country.

 

Have you been satisfied with Uthopias results at the Olympics?

I was very happy with his Grand Prix and Special considering the pressure on my shoulders. Unfortunately two weeks in the same situation for Uti with no hacking or turnout wasn’t ideal for keeping him fresh for the last day. So he was a bit tired and not so good then – but things like that happen!

 

Last year Uthopia was the big star at the European Championships. Now Valegro was going ahead of him… But you are also Charlotte´s trainer – so was it all in the “family” for you?

Nothing gives me more pleasure than to see Charlotte coming through. I trained her from the beginning of her career when she came to my farm to ride my young horses at first. With Valegro she went to be better and better and I saw all of this as a trainer. It was so much joy to be along with her at the Olympics.

 

Sad news arrived that both Uthopia and Valegro are for sale now. Is this still the status quo?

It is all still in negotiation stages but we do still hope to keep Charlotte and Valegro together at least. I cannot say more at the moment…

 

Will Charlotte stay at your farm and will you work together also in the future? Yes, we have no plans to change anything – it works well for the both of us. We became a really good team over the years.

 

How about young horses? How do you look ahead to the future and Rio 2016?

I have two up and coming horses Dances with Wolves, a ten year old Oldenburg gelding owned by Aram Gregory and ridden previously by my dear friend the late Jane Gregory who sadly passed away recently. The horse is current National Small Tour Champion. Also I have Nip Tuck, an eight year old KWPN gelding I part own with my friend Jane de la Mare.

 

Which are your plans for the winter season and next year?

Charlotte and Valegro will go to Olympia this Christmas and I will bring the two younger horses out at Grand Prix hopefully in somewhere a little warmer in the spring.

 

You have a big farm, you are trainer, rider… is there time for a rest at all?

I am expecting things to change a little in 2013. Most people won’t realize that I have been in this sport for 22 years and it would be nice to take things a little easier for a while – well that is the intention at least. We will see what happens… But for now I´m very happy what I had the chance to experience this year. The best year in sport ever…

 

Source: Alexandra Koch


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