Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dressage: European Championships: Great Britain's Team Preview

17 August 2011

British dressage riders; Laura Bechtolsheimer (Mistral Hojris), Carl Hester (Uthopia) Charlotte Dujardin (Valegro) and Emile Faurie (Elmegardens Marquis) will be representing Britain at this week’s FEI European Dressage Championships at the Kralingse Bos arena in the Dutch city of Rotterdam (17 - 21 August). The team will be one of a record number of 16 contesting the Championships.

The British team comes with good form as the current European and World team silver medallists. While it will be a team debut for the young and exciting combination of Dujardin and Valegro, the team has the experience of three former Olympic, World and European Championship team riders. Laura Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris, winners of an individual bronze medal at the European Championships at Windsor in 2009 and silver at last year’s World Equestrian Games, are currently second in the FEI world rankings and it is anticipated that the combination will be amongst those fighting for individual honours.

Carl Hester made his team debut 21years ago and has a record 51 National titles to his name. He was a member of the silver medal winning team at the 2009 European Championships and 2010 World Equestrian Games. With Uthopia, he has this year been posting high scores in Europe; scoring over 80% on their last two outings at Fritzens (AUT) and Hickstead (GBR) where the combination gained a personal best score for Hester of 81.80% in the Freestyle.

The Championship team test will be only the sixth international grand prix test for Dujardin, a pupil of Hester for five years. In January the twenty-six-year old scored 74% per cent on her winning international grand prix debut in Vidauban (FRA) and has since recorded grand prix wins at Saumur (FRA), Fritzens and Hickstead, including beating her tutor. 

The Gloucestershire based trio of Bechtolsheimer, Dujardin and Hester will be joined by Oxfordshire based Emile Faurie winner of European individual bronze and team silver in 1993 and a further team bronze at Hickstead in 2003. With Elmegardens Marquis, who shares the same sire, Michellino, as Mistral Hojris, Faurie has impressed with consistent good scores particularly at the recent Aachen CDIO (GER).

There will be strong opposition from both the Dutch and German teams. Germany, formerly undefeated in European Championships from 1965-2005,  now have former Dutch world record holding mount Totilas (Matthias Alexander Rath) on their side and will be keen to re-establish their authority on the Championships since relinquishing the Championship title to the Dutch in Turin (ITA) in 2007. The Dutch, who also won at Windsor in 2009 will be determined to hang on as the best in Europe and will be banking on the experience of this year’s high scoring World Cup winner Jerich Parzival (Adelinde Cornelissen) who will also be one of the favourites, along with Totilas, for individual honours.

For further event information, and competition timetables please visit:

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