Hester Wins and Valegro Bows out on a Night to Remember at Olympia

© Photo by Jon Stroud Media/FEI : Carl Hester and Nip TuckGreat Britain’s Carl Hester won the fifth leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016/2017 Western European League with Nip Tuck at London Olympia (GBR) tonight. (Jon Stroud Media/FEI) Great Britain’s Carl Hester won the fifth leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016/2017 Western European League with Nip Tuck at London Olympia. Photo by Jon Stoud Media/FEI. 

London – December 14, 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 rider and his 12-year-old gelding. Hester, 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 Valegro.

“My plan is to get to Omaha [for the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017 Final],” Hester explained. “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.”

Reigning FEI World Cup™ champions, Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Flirt, filled the runner-up spot ahead of the 2010 champion Edward Gal in third with Glock’s Voice.

© Mary Adelaide Brakenridge: Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED) and Glock’s Flirt Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Flirt

“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,” Minderhoud said. “I am super happy, but perhaps it’s time to make my Freestyle more difficult”

A fourth-place finish for Judy Reynolds has promoted the 35-year-old Irish rider to the top of the Western European League going into the next leg of the series in Amsterdam (NED). 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 his ride.

“This was the biggest atmosphere I’ve ever experienced at Olympia,” Hester said. “Barney [Nip Tuck] was a little on edge, but I’m really pleased that in that atmosphere he kept with me!”

Hester, whose own career is filled with major highlights, is the man who created the fairytale partnership between Charlotte Dujardin and 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 the pair, but just a few short months after adding to their haul of Olympic gold in Rio, the 14-year-old horse was tonight officially retired from the sport after presenting one last stunning performance of their winning London 2012 Olympic Games Freestyle test.

© Mary Adelaide Brakenridge: Charlotte Dujardin and ValegroCharlotte Dujardin and Valegro

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 tonight that it was “the alchemy” between Hester, Dujardin and this very special horse that has been key to this extraordinary success story.

CDI-W Olympia Grand Prix Freestyle Results
Rider/Country/Horse/Total Score
1. Carl Hester/GBR/Nip Tuck/84.669
2. Hans Peter Minderhoud/NED/Glock’s Flirt/81.880
3. Edward Gal/NED/Glock’s Voice/80.467
4. Judy Reynolds/IRL/Vancouver K/78.269
5. Hayley Watson-Greaves/GRB/Rubins Nite/77.574
6. Henriette Andersen/GRB/Warlocks Charm/76.987
7. Michael Eilberg/GBR/Markov/75.934
8. Emile Faurie/GBR/Weekend Fun/75.831
9. Katja Gevers/NED/Thriller/74.963
10. Mai Tofte Olesen/DEN/Rustique/73.303
11. Stephanie Briessel/FRA/Amorak/72.112
12. Miguel Ralao Duarte/POR/Xenofonte d’Atela/71.116
13. Ludovic Henry/FRA/After You/69.843

Current Standings Standings of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016/2017 Western European League:
1. Judy Reynolds/IRL/45
2. Kristy Oakley/AUS/44
3. Fabienne Lutkemeier/GER/41
3. Marcela Krinke Susmelj/SUI/41
5. Isabell Werth/GER/40
6. Carl Hester/GBR/37
6. Severo Jesus Jurado Lopez/ESP/37
6. Inna Logutenkova/UKR/37
9. Hubertus Schmidt/GER/31
10. Jessica von Bredow-Werndl/GER/30
10. Mai Tofte Olesen/DEN/30
10. Terhi Stegars/FIN/30

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