Carl and Charlotte victorious at Bolesworth International Horse Show

Carl and Charlotte victorious at Bolesworth International Horse Show


Olympic gold medallist Carl Hester made a flying start to the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show as dressage took centre-stage on day one in Cheshire.

Carl, whose career is highlighted by Olympic and European team golds for Great Britain, won the Berkeley Group CDI three star grand prix, riding Barolo.

The combination backed up a double success at last month's Royal Windsor Horse Show by taking the grand prix honours on a score of 74.24% to head a British clean sweep of the podium in Bolesworth's first international dressage competition.

Carl’s GB team colleague Gareth Hughes finished second on Don Carissimo, posting 72.92%, while Gillian Davison and Alfranco took third. Denmark's Anders Dahl showcased his consistency with fourth and fifth spots on Selten HW and Sir Donato, respectively, with New Zealand's Wendi Williamson sixth aboard Dejavu MH.

And the grand prix's true international feel was further highlighted by riders from the likes of Hong Kong, Brazil and Finland also taking part, as dressage at Bolesworth was launched in style.

Carl was Wednesday's headline act, though, and he was understandably delighted following another victorious performance on the chestnut gelding that he co-owns with Anne Seifert-Cohn as the crowd cheered its approval.

"He is very genuine. His piaffes have improved, and look how far he has come since last year," Hester said. "The horse has never had a young horse education. He came straight in doing grands prix two years ago, and he wasn't really ready, so we went back a couple of steps.

"He is so talented and so capable. I love riding him and I get on with him really well. I do enjoy it.

"The technical side of things is improving all the time. He is getting stronger."

Double Olympic dressage champion Charlotte Dujardin also wasted little time in making her mark after Carl’s win, once again highlighting the rich potential of her ride, the nine year old Hawtins Delicato.

Charlotte, Olympic individual gold medallist at London 2012 and in Rio last summer, landed the Invitational Inter 1 Freestyle, sponsored by Kingsley Equestrian, by a comfortable margin.

Their score of 74.75% proved too much for a field that also included GB’s multiple Paralympic medallist Sophie Wells, with Sadie Smith and Keystone Dynamite finishing second, while Vicky Thompson and Artist were third.

As she did at the Horse of the Year Show in Birmingham eight months ago with Delicato, it was another dominant display that did little to reduce excitement levels surrounding one of the country's most exciting young horses.

Delicato is set to be the next top ride for Dujardin's mentor Hester, and she said: "He is going to be an incredible horse next year for Carl, when hopefully he will be at grand prix level."

And Hester also has no doubt about the horse's potential, adding: "He is the most exciting young horse in the country at the moment.

"He just needs the confidence with shows and gaining experience. He is a big hope, and he is also British-bred."

Attention now turns to Thursday's dressage action, which is highlighted by the freestyle to music finale, a grand prix special and number of exciting young horse classes.