‘We have plenty of irons in the fire’: Carl Hester on bringing En Vogue back into work, plus other exciting horses to watch

  • The sporting excitement of 2021 seems a long time ago now, but if Britain’s top prospects are anything to go by, we should definitely be getting excited for this year’s dressage World Championships in Denmark, as well as looking further into the future. Of Carl Hester’s horses, his Olympic ride En Vogue is on particularly fine form, and Carl says that a “perfect” winter for the 13-year-old Jazz son has meant he’s now “feeling incredible” ahead of the 2022 season.

    “He feels so much better than last year,” says Carl, who won team bronze in Tokyo and team silver at the Europeans, with a sixth-place individual finish in the special at the latter. “He had a whole month in the field after the Europeans in September, and then I just did six weeks hacking with him, and no schooling at all until the end of November.

    “Over the winter I’ve just ridden him for half an hour at a time and the rest of the time he’s loose lungeing or hacking. We’ve been lucky with the weather, and the fact that he lives out and doesn’t need to work hard. Sometimes the fitter he is, the hotter he is to handle.”

    Vogue, who is owned by Carl, Charlotte Dujardin, Lady Anne Evans and Sandra Biddlecombe, hasn’t competed since the Europeans, with Carl saying he felt it was the right move not to take Vogue to the London International Horse Show at the end of 2021.

    “I didn’t want to ruin what I did last year – instead it’s been lovely to take my time with Vogue over the winter,” he says. “He is now working four days a week, building up the exercises and working on weaknesses. The piaffe-passage is amazing and he is getting so confident that I can start to ask for that bit more. The wonderful thing about Vogue is that he can have a month off and it is so good for his brain.”

    Vogue’s field companion is also going better than ever ahead of what is hoped will be an exciting season for him.

    Imhotep, aka Pete, the nine-year-old Everdale son who is owned by Carl and Coral Ingham and currently ridden by Charlotte Dujardin, has been showing off his talent for the grand prix work on social media.

    “Pete is another hot head who lives out with Vogue. We always knew he had the talent and since January he’s really got a grip on everything in the grand prix. We have really high hopes for him,” says Carl.

    “Charlotte’s grey mare Florentina is also looking really healthy and confident. We have plenty of irons in the fire and we’re looking forward to Paris 2024!”

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