The British team for the 2005 European Dressage Championships in Moscow (27-31 July) combines a wealth of experience at the highest level with some fresh talent, proving that it is possible for new faces to break into the team.
Unsurprisingly, the British Dressage selectors, David Trott, Judy Harvey and Sandy Phillips, have chosen the experienced partnerships of Carl Hester and Escapado alongside Emma Hindle and Wie Weltmeyer. However, the selectors have also acknowledged recent impressive international results from Fiona Bigwood (Mr G de Lully) and Wayne Channon (Lorenzo CH) by awarding them the two remaining team places.
David Trott, BD chairman of selectors, said: “Many of the horses and riders we considered have shown real improvement in their performances over the last six months. We were pleased to see, not only four strong riders for Moscow, but also talented horses and riders for the future.”
Carl Hester took part in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games at the age of 25 and has had more than 10 years of national and international success since. The holder of more than 30 national titles, Carl has trained Escapado from an extremely “hot” six-year-old novice to be the highest scoring British rider at the Athens Olympic Games last year. Escapado has been growing in confidence over the past year and scored +73% in the freestyle at the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in the spring.
Emma Hindle and Wie Weltmeyer were members of the bronze medal winning European Championship team at Hickstead in 2003 and the Athens Olympic team in 2004. Wie Weltmeyer had a break after suffering a muscle strain in Athens and has now returned to the competition arena with new enthusiasm and confidence, which has lead to impressive scores and made them an obvious choice for selection.
Fiona Bigwood represented Britain as a junior and young rider, and was a member of the 1999 European Championship team riding Macho. Now based in Germany, Bigwood and her new ride Mr G de Lully recently won the grand prix freestyle at Achleiten CDI with a score of 75.73%, having been second in the grand prix with 70.48%.
Wayne Channon has put his successful career in high-tech and internet technology on the back burner in order to devote more time to his dressage career and the decision has clearly paid off. Grand prix champion at the Sunshine Tour in the spring, Channon and Lorenzo CH were placed second last weekend in the grand prix freestyle at Lipica CDI-W with a score of 74.48%.
The team’s reserve riders are Emma Hindle with her new ride Lancet, who was part of the Dutch team in Athens, and Emile Faurie with Livello.