British dressage hopes for Europeans suffer a blow as top horse withdrawn

  • Mistral Hojris, the ride of Laura Tomlinson (neé Bechtolsheimer), has sustained a slight injury and will not compete at the European Dressage Championships in Herning, Denmark next week.

    The withdrawal of “Alf” — a team gold and individual bronze medallist at last year’s Olympics (pictured) and a stalwart of the British team for many years — is a big blow to Britain’s hopes of retaining the team gold he contributed to at the last Europeans, in Rotterdam in 2011.

    Reserve Gareth Hughes, with Jane Brewin’s DV Stenkjers Nadonna, now joins Charlotte Dujardin (Valegro), Carl Hester (Uthopia) and Michael Eilberg (Half Moon Delphi) on the British team in Herning.

    World Class dressage programme manager Richard Waygood commented: “We are hugely disappointed not to have Alf [Mistral Hojris] out at the championships. We feel he has been the most amazing servant to the British team and British Dressage and that he owes us nothing and we owe him everything; we wish him a speedy recovery. We welcome Gareth onto the team, for what will be his senior championship debut.”

    Equestrian performance director Will Connell added: “Mistral Hojris has been at the forefront of British dressage and for GB. All within Great Britain owe Laura, Mistral Hojris and the Bechtolsheimer’s a huge debt of gratitude and this decision has been made with the welfare of the horse in mind. We welcome Gareth to the team and look forward to the competition in Denmark.”

    Spain has also suffered a blow today, with the withdrawal of its top combination, Manuel Muñoz Díaz and Fuego De Cardenas. 

    Read our full interview with British team member Michael Eilberg in H&H out today, 15th August.

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