‘The sort of piaffe you want to bottle’: former British champion and Carl Hester’s Rio reserve retires

  • Wanadoo, the former British Dressage (BD) national champion and Carl Hester’s reserve ride for the Rio Olympics, has been retired from competition aged 21.

    The Wolkenstein II son was bought by Coral Ingham as a six-year-old from the Netherlands. Coral told H&H Wanadoo was a handful as a young horse and after a particularly challenging competition in 2008, he went to Carl’s for a period where he was competed by Charlotte Dujardin, taking multiple wins at medium and advanced medium.

    Wanadoo returned to Coral a few months later and the pair worked their way up to grand prix level, before Carl took over the ride again in 2015. The following year Carl and Wanadoo were crowned national champions – and Wanadoo was named as Carl’s reserve to Nip Tuck for the Rio Games.

    “It was a special night when I had the call from the chef d’equipe to say Wanadoo had got the scores and qualified for the Olympics, it was amazing,” said Coral.

    In 2017 Carl and Wanadoo competed in the Doha CDI5*, coming sixth in the grand prix and seventh in the freestyle. That year Wanadoo returned to Coral to be a schoolmaster for her daughter Megan, a student of Carl’s.


    Megan Ingham riding Wanadoo

    “Megan was about to go to university to study psychology, but she made the decision she wanted to ride instead. She started competing Wanadoo in young riders, then went on to the under-25 grand prix and we went round Europe,” said Coral.

    In 2019 Megan and Wanadoo won the Somerford Park premier league under-25 grand prix and the pair also took a number of top-10 placings including at the Hickstead and Gothenburg internationals.

    “He had the most amazing half pass and used to get very good comments for that. He could move sideways and with so much cadence. It always just felt amazing, and he had a really good piaffe – the sort of piaffe you want to bottle and keep for ever,” said Coral.

    Coral said the decision has now been made to retire Wanadoo from competition. He is sound and well, and will continue with some light hacking.

    “He’s done everything we could possibly have asked of him so we think it’s time for him to have a nice retirement now,” she said. “But it will be about keeping a nice balance; even now if he doesn’t get ridden for a few days his energy levels build up – he doesn’t behave like a 21-year-old, that’s for sure!

    “He’s always been very hot and sharp to ride, but he’s the perfect gentleman on the ground and he loves his food – he lives to eat. If you walk on to the yard he starts whinnying at you straight away. Everybody loves him, he’s a real character. He’s been the horse of a lifetime for us and a great horse for Carl. We couldn’t have asked for any more from him, we love him to bits.”

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