Double Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin spearheads the British dressage team for this September’s World Equestrian Games (WEG), which was announced today (17 August).
Charlotte will pilot the nine-year-old Fidermark mare Mount St John Freestyle, owned by Emma Blundell, at Tryon International Equestrian Center, US, on her first championship appearance since the retirement of Valegro.
Charlotte is joined on the team by her London 2012 Olympic gold medal-winning team-mate Carl Hester, who has been named with his own, Anne Evans and Ann Cory’s 10-year-old Diamond Hit gelding Hawtins Delicato. Both Freestyle and “Del” are in just their first year of grand prix.
Competition for the remaining two slots of the team has been fierce, but Spencer Wilton made the cut with his Rio Olympic and 2017 Europeans ride, Super Nova II. The 15-year-old De Niro gelding, who is owned by Jen Goodman and Spencer, had 10 months out of competition due to an injury, returning to the arena with solid grand prix scores at Hartpury and Hickstead CDIs in July.
Filling the other team spot is Emile Faurie with Hof Kasselmann’s Dono Di Maggio, an 11-year-old Dimaggio gelding. This will be Emile’s third WEG, having returned to the senior team for the 2017 Europeans for the first time since 2011. Emile has also been named with a direct reserve horse, another De Niro son, this time Elena’s Knyaginicheva’s 14-year-old stallion Delatio
Lara Butler is the final reserve, with her long-term partner, the Bechtolsheimers’ 16-year-old Rubin Al Asad. Lara and “Rufus” were reserves for both the Rio Olympics and the 2017 Europeans.
Dressage performance manager Caroline Griffith said: “It’s very exciting to be working with a team of riders that have such a wealth of experience between them and I know that they will use that experience to best effect. We have seen some great scores this year from those on the short list, which, for me, underlines the strength of the four athletes and horses that will be travelling to Tryon.
“If anyone can prepare this high-calibre group of young horses for a World Equestrian Games, we know Carl, Charlotte, and Emile can. Add to that Spencer and we have capacity for some truly exciting team scores and a great competition.”
British Dressage CEO Jason Brautigam added: “We’re exceptionally lucky to be in a position to field four riders with Olympic experience in Carl, Charlotte, Emile and Spencer. In our team for WEG we have three exciting young horses making their championship debut, alongside a fourth making his third consecutive team appearance.
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“They have all been carefully campaigned through the year to peak for Tryon – and with the team’s vast experience of preparing for the big occasion, confidence in the camp is high. We are looking forward to seeing these combinations in action and wish them all the very best in the USA.”
The Games run from 11 to 23 September.
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