Stunning ride from Carl Hester strengthens Britain’s Euros medal hopes

Carl Hester added another personal best score to Britain’s total to strengthen the team’s hold on the silver medal at a crucial stage of the European Dressage Championships in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Carl and Hawtins Delicato had to contend with sharing the arena with two crows, but the 11-year-old Diamond Hit gelding, who is British-bred by Judith Davis, was not fazed. They smashed their previous grand prix best by over 1% with a gorgeous, soft and flowing test for 78.32%.

“This year has paid off,” declared Carl, who has campaigned Del frequently on the British national and international circuit in 2019, with just one foreign competition. “You always get a lot of criticism when you stay at home, but I’ve needed to get his confidence back with some little shows, and learn about him some more.

Carl Hester and Hawtins Delicato at the European Dressage Championships

“He was brilliant today; the last test I did without any mistakes was at the World Equestrian Games, but who cares if you make mistakes the rest of year as long as you don’t so it at a championship,” joked Carl.

“Del is such a great quality horse, with no weaknesses, and he is really starting to show it in the ring now.

“Saying that, yesterday someone had a crow in the arena and I thought then that if a crow landed in there during my test that would just be the worst luck — and then I had two! But maybe it’s like magpies and two crows means good luck,” he chuckled.

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With super scores posted yesterday by Gareth Hughes and Lottie Fry, Britain remain in silver after three riders. They are 5% behind Germany in gold with both team’s anticipated top scorer yet to ride in the form of Isabell Werth and Charlotte Dujardin. Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands are bunched together behind the top two, all within 1% of one another.

Isabell will ride reigning world champion Bella Rose at 2.30pm (1.30 UK time), followed by Sweden’s final rider, Patrik Kittel on Well Done De La Roche at 2.40pm (2.30pm UK time). Charlotte will follow Patrik on Mount St John Freestyle at 2.50pm (1.50pm UK time),  with Dutch Edward Gal and Glock’s Zonik the last combination to go, at 3pm (2pm UK time).

Don’t miss next week’s issue of H&H for extensive coverage from the European Dressage, Para Dressage and Showjumping Championships, out 29 August