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What a Christmas present: Carl Hester achieves all-time personal best score

Carl Hester has landed a new career best score, riding En Vogue to 86.48% in the freestyle at the LeMieux National Grand Prix Championships. The pair finished third in the class and third in the overall national championship, behind Charlotte Dujardin on Mount St John Freestyle and Gio.

Carl’s dressage career spans more than 30 years, and his previous best score was 85.02% with Nip Tuck, at the Lyon World Cup qualifier in 2016, where they finished second to Isabell Werth. He came close to breaking his own record with Hawtins Delicato at Olympia 2019, posting 84.47% there, but newer ride En Vogue, who is owned by Charlotte Dujardin, is the horse who has lifted him to new heights.

“En Vogue is an absolute powerhouse; he has medals written all over him,” Carl told H&H, describing the two-day live-streamed championship, held at Hartpury, as “a lovely end to this challenging year”.

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The pair gave a wonderful performance using Uthopia’s memorable freestyle music and floorplan from the 2011 European Championships, as Vogue does not yet have his own freestyle programme.

With their partnership blossoming, and Vogue fast turning into Carl’s primary hope for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, one suspects it will not be long before the 11-year-old Jazz gelding gets a routine of his own.

Excitingly, there is plenty of potential for Carl’s best score to push even closer to 90%, as his test at Hartpury included a mistake on the last centre line – the same error he made while riding it in 2011.

Don’t miss 31 December issue of H&H for a full report from the LeMieux National Grand Prix Championships, plus an exclusive column from Carl Hester.

Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade to access our H&H Plus online service which brings you breaking news as it happens as well as other benefits.

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