Carl Hester and Sasha Stewart’s Uthopia have won individual silver at the European dressage championships, scoring 81.682%. They were closely followed by World silver medallists Laura Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris in bronze.
Following their exemplary performance in the grand prix, resulting in team gold, the pressure was on for Hester. The judges are in love with his horse’s extended trot – awarding 10s yet again. However, a big mistake in the one-times brought this movement’s average score down to 3.4. Without this, it could well have been gold for Hester.
“You’re always disappointed when you make a mistake like that, but I said yesterday I wanted a medal one way or another and I’m thrilled to have got one,” said Carl. “For such a young grand prix horse, at this stage in his career, I couldn’t have asked for more.”
In the event, it was The Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen who topped the podium, despite going wrong in her test. Adelinde rode the two-time changes when she should have started the canter half-pass right.
“I was kicking myself afterwards for that,” she said. “But I’m so glad he still won because he deserved to and I didn’t want it to be my mistake that cost us the gold.”
Mistral Hojris much improved
Laura Bechtolsheimer had a difficult time in Thursday’s grand prix, with Mistral Hojris becoming very strong. Today, she looked more in control from the start, with “Alf” standing still in his first halt.
There were still moments that can be improved in tomorrow’s kur. They too came unstuck in the one-time changes, but finished on 79.256%.
“For the first half of the test he felt as good as he ever has, then after the walk he lost impulsion and because of that we had mistakes,” she explained. “I’m still over the moon to be on the podium and up here with another British rider.”
Asked if she would feel more confident for tomorrow’s kur having got Alf under control today she said: “I never feel totally confident going into a kur with Alf, but he was listening to me more today so we’ll see what we can do.”
Last to go, Germany’s Matthias Rath and Totilas, had a few communication errors, including before the flying change out of the half-pass right. Consequently the horse who took gold in Kentucky last year finished fourth.
Brits don’t hold back
Where they were faultless in the grand prix, Britain’s team debutants Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro had too many errors in the special to allow them onto the podium, but still finished in an incredible sixth place.
Britain’s Emile Faurie was determined to go for it in the special. Since this score does not count for the team effort he had no need to play it safe. Elmegardens Marquis showed huge power and expression in his piaffe and passage, but the horse’s excitement got the better of him in the halts and extended walk. Despite this and an error in the changes they finished on a respectable 68.577%.
GOLD: Jerich Parzival (A Cornelissen, NED) 82.113.
SILVER: Uthopia (C Hester, GBR) 81.682.
BRONZE: Mistral Hojris (L Bechtolsheimer) 79.256.
Don’t miss H&H this Thursday for full report, pictures and results