The shortlist for the British World Equestrian Games (WEG) dressage team has been confirmed.
Eight combinations have been listed, from which four will be selected to make up the British team that will travel to Tryon, North Carolina in September.
Charlotte Dujardin spearheads the line-up with Emma Blundell’s nine-year-old mare Mount St John Freestyle (pictured above, centre). The talented Fidermark mare only began her grand prix career this year but is so far unbeaten, with scores of over 80% in the grand prix special.
Carl Hester is also listed with his young grand prix star, his own, Anne Evans and Ann Cory’s Hawtins Delicato (pictured above, left). This British-bred 10-year-old, by Diamond Hit, is another in his first year of grand prix.
Rio silver medallist and 2017 Europeans team member Spencer Wilton is short-listed with his Olympic ride, his own and Jen Goodman’s Super Nova II. The 15-year-old De Niro gelding has spent 10 months away from competition due to an injury, but made his comeback at Hartpury CDI in July this year, finishing third behind Carl and Charlotte. The pair also won the grand prix at Hickstead CDI in late July.
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Emile Faurie and Gareth Hughes are both named with two rides; Emile has Elena Knyaginicheva’s Delatio, the 14-year-old De Niro stallion with whom he posted plus-73% at the Aachen CHIIO5* last month, and Hof Kasselmann KG’s Dono Di Maggio, an 11-year-old by Dimaggio who was second and third at Fritzens CDI4* at the end of June.
Gareth has made the short-list with Steve and Anne Keen’s Don Carissimo (pictured above, right), with whom he travelled to Gothenburg to compete on the British team at last year’s Europeans, before being forced to withdraw when the Don Crusador gelding sustained an injury after arrival. Gareth is also listed with his own, his wife Rebecca’s and Julia Hornig’s 12-year-old Trento B mare Classic Briolinca.
Lara Butler and the Bechtolsheimers’ Rubin Al Asad complete the shortlist. Lara and the 16-year-old Rubin Royal son are the only combination not to have competed on a championship team, though they were selected as reserves for both the Rio Olympics and the 2017 Europeans.
“We have a great mix of exciting young horses with experienced riders and established combinations all of whom have performed well this year so I am very, very excited about the World Games,” said dressage performance manager, Caroline Griffith.
“All of those campaigning this year have pushed those on the shortlist hard for their places, a true sign of the strength, depth and quality we have in this country.”
There is no definite date for the team announcement, though it is expected within the next two weeks.
Don’t miss our full preview of the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, on sale Thursday 30 August