Carl Hester led the British dressage team to victory in the final leg of the FEI Nations Cup Dressage 2013 pilot series at Hickstead yesterday.

Scoring a massive 81.65% with his Olympic ride Uthopia, Carl was thrilled with the black stallion’s performance. Highlights included the passage and piaffe, along with Uthopia’s trademark expressive trot extension.

“It was like being back in the good old days of 2010,” said Carl. “I don’t know what happened because he was hot as hell, but he felt like a million dollars!

Uthopia has been campaigned by Charlotte Dujardin since the Olympics, but Carl will ride him at the European Championships later this month.

I had a fab ride, it was a great boost for us both,” he explained. “I haven’t ridden him since the Olympics really and now I’m seriously looking forward to the Europeans in Herning.  This has put us both in the right frame of mind.”

The British effort kicked off with 69.7% from Nikki Crisp and Pasoa, followed by 72.65% from Michael Eilberg and Marakof and 74.25% from Gareth Hughes with DV Stenjkers Nadonna.

Gareth, who had also been part of the winning British team in Rotterdam, was delighted to contribute to another British triumph.

I think the Nations Cup series is a fantastic idea,” he said. “It gives so many more riders the opportunity to compete.  Nations Cup has been a big thing for the jumpers for a very long time, it’s great for us to have it in dressage now — I think it’s a big step up for the sport.”

Although Olympic individual and team gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin was not part of the Nations Cup team at Hickstead, she was in action with Valegro. The pair showed they were in good form ahead of the Europeans winning both the grand prix and grand prix special to the delight of the home crowds.

Full report from Dressage at Hickstead in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 8 August

Dressage at Hickstead Nations Cup result

1. Great Britain 76.183: Pasoa (Nikki Crisp) 69.700, Marakof (Michael Eilberg) 72.650, DV Stenjkers Nadonna (Gareth Hughes) 74.250, Uthopia (Carl Hester) 81.650.
2. USA 75.258: Alina (Arlene Page) 69.200, Breanna (Kathleen Raine) 75.650, Doktor (Shelly Francis) 74.500, Coral Reef Wylea (Guenter Seidel) 75.625.
3. Germany 73.267: Darjeeling (Stephan Koberle) 70.100, Nymphenburgs Rockport (Johanna von Fircks) 71.025, Riccoletto (Matthias Kempkes) 71.025, Loverboy (Jenny Lang) 77.750.