Olympic dressage star ready to take teenager to grand prix

  • Teenage rider Jil-Marielle Becks will be making her grand prix debut with dressage star Damon Hill this winter.

    The stallion was on the German silver medal-winning team at London 2012 with Helen Langehanenberg. The pair also won team and individual medals at the World Equestrian Games in 2014.

    Helen, who stood as world number two behind Charlotte Dujardin, lost the ride on Damon Hill in November last year. He remained at the yard of his owner, Chris Beck.

    Chris’ lawyer said an agreement for Helen to stay under contract until the 2016 Olympics could not be reached.

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    Jil, Chris’ daughter, took on the ride and presented the horse in public for the first time in a demonstration on 15 March at Equitana, a high profile German show.

    The 18-year-old went on to produce top scores with the Westphalian at their first few shows earlier this year. However, Damon Hill sustained an injury that stopped the pair competing.

    I am glad that he is fit again and we can focus on the next task,” said Jil.

    Jil and Damon Hill made a winning international debut earlier this year as last-minute entrants to the Horses And Dreams show in Hagen, Germany (22-26 April).

    They won the one-star prix st georges (PSG) class with 79.21%. The five individual judge’s marks ranged from 77.23% to 81.71%, with both the highest and lowest scores from the two German judges.

    The new partnership’s score in Hagen easily exceeded the 64% target to qualify for potential nomination for the young rider European Championships.

    Helen and Damon Hill’s career highlights

    • 2012: team silver London Olympics
    • 2013: team gold and two individual silvers European championships
    • 2013 team gold FEI world cup final
    • 2014: team gold and two individual silvers World Equestrian Games

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