An all-male squad will represent Great Britain at the FEI Longines European Dressage Championships next month.
The squad features two combinations from the Rio 2016 Olympic medal-winning team — Carl Hester with Nip Tuck and Spencer Wilton on Super Nova II.
This will be Carl’s eighth Europeans appearance overall and his fourth consecutive senior championship with this horse.
They are joined by Emile Faurie, for whom this will be his sixth European Championship, and Gareth Hughes, whose last senior championship appearance was at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.
Lara Butler is the reserve.
“Barney [Nip Tuck] just goes from strength to strength and has exceeded all our expectations,” said Carl.
“Gothenburg will be our fourth straight championship appearance and at just 13, Jane [de la Mare, the horse’s joint owner] and I couldn’t ask for more.
“It’ll be a tough task, but we’ll certainly do our best. Our pony team recently showed just what ‘girl power’ can achieve with a bronze medal; now it’s down to us guys to show what we can do!”
The full line-up of Brits heading to the championships on 21-27 August in Gothenburg, Sweden, is:
- Emile Faurie, 54, based in Oxfordshire, with Hof Kasselmann’s Weekend Fun and Elena Knyagincheva’s Lollipop 126 as a direct reserve
- Carl Hester, 50, based in Gloucestershire, with Jane de la Mare and his own Nip Tuck
- Gareth Hughes, 46, based in Warwickshire, with Anne and Steve Keen’s Don Carissimo
- Spencer Wilton, 44, based in Berkshire, with Jen Goodman’s Super Nova II
- Lara Butler, 29, based in Gloucestershire, with Dr Wilfried Bechtolsheimer’s Rubin Al Asad
Spencer said: “I was in a slightly different position this year compared with last, in that I’ve had a really strong season so I wasn’t feeling the pressure as much as I was when waiting for the phone call for the Olympic Games. But still hearing the words is a massive relief and it’s a huge honour.
“I definitely learnt a lot about myself and Neville [Super Nova II] in Rio and I gained a lot of confidence from seeing him cope with the bigger situation better than he had done in the past.
“He’s come back bigger and stronger this season as we’ve had a number of personal bests and I can’t wait to take him to the championships.”
Emile said he is “thrilled” to be back on the squad and to take Weekend Fun to his first championships.
“My focus now is to make sure both horses are fresh and healthy and in a routine ready for Gothenburg,” he said.
Gareth added it is “always an honour” to be selected to represent your country.
“Anne and Steve Keen have owned Darcy [Don Carissimo] since he was a foal, so it’s been an amazing journey for them,” he said.
“This is Darcy’s first year at grand prix and he has performed way beyond our expectations.
“I’m really looking forward to riding him at these championships alongside this very exciting team.”
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British Equestrian Federation’s dressage performance manager Caroline Griffith said there has been “strength and depth” in the field of combinations for selectors to choose from.
She added this is “testament to the ever rising standards in dressage” and “bodes well” for Tokyo 2020.
“We go to the European Championships with an extremely experienced squad who are focused and targeted on delivering their best performances,” she said.
She also thanked the riders, owners, support teams, UK Sport and the National Lottery.
British Dressage chief executive Jason Brautigam said it is a “very strong team” and welcomed back Emile and Gareth to the squad.
“While we may have had to say farewell to Valegro, our star performer of the past five years, who was always going to be difficult to replace, it is testament to the strength in depth of Team GBR that we can still field such a strong line-up of experienced riders,” he added.
“We wish Caroline and the team the best of luck in Sweden, as well as expressing our thanks and appreciation to the owners, staff and home teams for all of their support on the journey to Gothenburg.”
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