LIEBLING II, Donald McTaggart’s two-time European dressage horse, has been sold to Canadian team rider Cheryl Meisner.

Liebling, a 13-year-old Holstein gelding by Lorentin out of Bernstadt, was part of Britain’s team silver medal-winning effort in Windsor last August with Carl Hester, scoring 72.09% in the grand prix.

He went on to score a personal best at the London Olympia World Cup qualifier in December 2009 — 78.45%.

Carl told Horse & Hound: “The horse has done an incredible amount for me and the country this past year and it’s been a pleasure to ride him. Donald and I had been discussing his future and when Cheryl approached us about buying the horse it seemed like the perfect opportunity, particularly because they clicked straight away.”

Carl took the ride on from Anna Ross Davies at the end of 2008. She and Liebling II finished best of the British in 10th place at the 2007 European championship in Turin, Italy.

Donald originally bought the horse from auction as a show jumper.

Carl’s World Equestrian Games prospect now is Sasha Stewart’s Uthopia. The horse is making his grand prix debut on the Spanish Sunshine Tour on Saturday.

Carl also has Ann Cory’s grand prix horse Dolendo back from injury, and is taking on the ride on Anni Macdonald-Hall’s stunning Rosso.

British Dressage team manager and H&H columnist Richard Davison said: “It’s a big blow to lose Liebling. He and Carl had made a fantastic partnership, but Carl does have Uthopia and two other horses to contest for the British team this year. It is great that Donald McTaggart is prepared to continue supporting Carl with young horses for future championships and I am very grateful for his continued support.

Read further comment from Carl and find out what this means for the British team in next week’s Horse & Hound — out 11 March. Plus see how Uthopia gets on in Spain, and learn more about the other horses Carl will be campaigning at grand prix this year.