‘First I’ve heard of it’ — Carl Hester clarifies the recent Valegro retirement story

  • Communication between riders and owners isn’t always straightforward.

    So discovered Carl Hester when he read about Valegro retiring after the Rio 2016 Olympics online yesterday (Monday, 16 November).

    “It’s the first I’ve heard of it,” Carl told H&H today (Tuesday, 17 November).

    The Horse & Hound columnist has not made any new decisions about his wonder horse’s future and was initially unaware of where the story had originated. However, after speaking to Charlotte, it transpired she had “got a bit carried away” on a day’s filming for Road to Rio with the BBC.

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    “As far as I’m concerned, nothing’s changed,” said Carl. “It’s just Charlotte and her big mouth.

    “The plan is still for him to go to the Olympics and, even if he did retire after Rio — which is not definite — he would do Olympia in December as another show before retiring properly.”

    “That’s the plan we’ve had all along, and we’re sticking to it,” he added.

    “I’ve spoken to Charlotte and mentioned that it would have been nice of her to consult me!”

    Olympic, world and European champion Charlotte told BBC Points West: “This will be Valegro’s retirement after Rio, so I want to go out there and want to enjoy every last minute.”

    It is this line which has been extrapolated to mean that the 2016 Olympics would be his final show.

    But joint owner Carl Hester (along with Roly Luard and Anne Barrott) would prefer the dual Olympic gold medal-winning 13-year-old gelding to be retired in a special ceremony in front of his home crowd at Olympia — if he is indeed retired at all in 2016.

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