British Rio 2016 Dressage Team
Today’s the day that the horses for the Dressage GBR Team head off for Rio. But do you know who is in the team besides the usual suspects? Read on to find out..
London 2012 Olympic gold medal winner Charlotte Du Jardin is one of the most well-known suspects! Her equestrian career began at the tender age of two years old. At just three she came second at her first Pony Club show jumping competition. In 2007 she started work at Carl Hester’s yard where, after 10 days, spotting her talent, he offered her a job as a groom at his yard. Asked to bring on a novice Dutch Warmblood Blueberry, aka Valegro, the partnership blossomed in to one of outstanding success. Together, they currently hold the complete set of the available individual elite dressage titles: the individual Olympic freestyle, World freestyle and Grand Prix Special, World Cup individual dressage and European freestyle and Grand Prix Special titles. And what’s more, she’s the first, and to date only, rider to hold this complete set of titles at the same time. No surprises who her ride will be … VALEGRO!
Next up is probably the most well known and loved equestrian - Carl Hester. Raised on the island of Sark, aged 19, he moved to a job on the mainland at The Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy. This was followed by an invitation from Dr Bechtolsheimer to join him at his yard as a rider. And the rest, as they say, is history! At the 2009 European Championships on Dr B’s Giorgione, he won his first medal for Great Britain. Then selected with his ride Utopia to represent Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics, the combination secured Team Gold, before adding a team Silver to their record of achievements at Aachen in 2015. An Olympic team member five times over, he rides Nip Tuck at his Olympic debut.
Fiona Bigwood will make her Olympic debut at Rio. Her husband Anders Dahl, a fellow dressage rider from Denmark, will also be riding at the Rio Olympics. After spending over 13 years living and competing in Germany, Fiona returned to Great Britain in 2006 and in 2007 was the youngest British rider ever to be selected for a Senior European Championships. Competing for Great Britain at last year’s European Championships on her ride Atterupgaards Orthilia, the pair helped GBR to a team silver medal. Her ride will be Atterupgaards Orthilia, aka Tillie!
Along with Fiona, Spencer Wilton will also be making his Olympic debut at Rio. Initially an eventer, representing Great Britain at pony and young rider levels, he changed direction to focus on dressage. With a mighty 13 national titles under his belt and a good two years of international competition experience on his ride at Rio, he’ll have already been up against lots of the other riders that will be there. His ride is Super Nova II.
EQUUS wishes horses and riders a safe journey to Rio and a successful Games!
How do you think the team will get on? Tell us in the comments below!