‘I’ve never had a score like that’: Carl Hester posts +98% on six-year-old ‘born champion’

  • “That’s the highest score I’ve ever had,” said Carl Hester after he posted an impressive 98.4% with Quinn G in the six year-old class at the All England Dressage Festival at Hickstead on Friday (10 May).

    Chestnut mare Quinn G (Quarterhit x Fassbinder) is owned by Fiona Bigwood and Carl has been riding her for a few weeks. The mare, bred by Helene Geervliet of Stutteri G in Denmark, won gold in the five-year-old World Breeding Championships with Betina Jaeger last year, before she was sold to Fiona.

    “Quinn is another great buy from Fiona who obviously has a fairly amazing eye for a young horse. She’s an awesome great big unit of a horse, she is absolutely incredible,” said Carl.

    “She has the perfect young horse champion vibe; she has a huge walk, huge trot, and huge canter. She’s enormous in character, size, movement – she’s just awesome to ride. That horse is a star without any rider on her.”

    The Hickstead judges liked what they saw, awarding Quinn 10s for her walk, canter and general impression. On their second test on Saturday Quinn was given 10s for her trot, canter, and perspective to post 97%. Young horse classes aim to give horses aged four to seven, and ponies aged four to six, exposure to the competition environment, and help develop stars of the future. The classes are judged differently to senior classes, in that rather than being marked on movements, horses are scored on the quality of their paces and way of going.

    “You would be hard pushed to find anyone that didn’t think Quinn is amazing. She’s a super, super mover. She’s like a born champion for these sorts of classes because she somehow has the swagger in the test to show off, and yet she has this amazing relaxation in her walk,” said Carl, adding that “she really does have it all”.

    “It’s really exciting, you really feel like it’s just guidance now. It’s as if she’s been here and read the book already, she knows her job. And she’s so proud when she goes up to the ring, I’ve not competed her before Hickstead, but she goes up to the ring and it’s just like, ‘Right boys, watch this!’ and off she goes.

    98.4% is Carl’s highest score in a test.

    “At least I know now if I ever retire I can remember I got 98.4%! That’s a nice score to go to sleep on, believe me,” he said.

    “Fiona would like me to go to the World Breeding Championships with her, that is what the aim would be towards the end of the year and we’ll talk about that.”

    Carl added that young horses classes “are not really his bag”, but he loves riding Quinn.

    “I haven’t put on a short jacket for about 15 years, luckily I had one that fit me! But it’s quite nice to do young horses, because let’s face it, they are the future. It’s interesting, we’ll see how it progresses,” he said.

    Carl was also in action in Hickstead’s CDI3* with Fiona’s 14-year-old stallion Fame, placing third in the grand prix behind Charlotte Dujardin, who had a one-two with Imhotep and Alive and Kicking, and second in the grand prix special behind Charlotte and Imhotep. He won the Premier League grand prix with En Vogue.

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