So, if Valegro and Uthopia are sold, does this signal the end of Britain’s run of international dressage success? Not according to those in the know, who believe we have plenty of young equine talent waiting in the wings.
While Carl, Charlotte and Laura were at Greenwich, Woodlander Farouche and Michael Eilberg were taking the World Breeding Championships for Young Dressage Horses (sport horse, 10 August) for six-year-old horses – a year after she triumphed in the five-year-old equivalent. The mare achieved a record-breaking final score of 9.88.
British Dressage (BD) chief executive Amanda Bond told H&H: “There is a breadth of talent coming through in our sport. Farouche is an excellent example of how the quality of horsepower in the UK is continuing to grow.”
H&H dressage columnist Pammy Hutton said a trip to the Olympics has spurred one of her clients into deciding to buy potential Rio rides for Pammy’s children Charlie and Pippa.
“I have been given the go-ahead to buy two top six- or seven-year-olds – something we have never been in the position to do before,” she said. “It is quite amazing.”
Asked whom she thinks would make next year’s European Championships in Herning, Denmark (19-25 August), if our Olympic horses are all unavailable, Pammy doesn’t hesitate.
“We have Emile Faurie and Elmegardens Marquis, Emma Hindle is back on the scene and Fiona Bigwood will soon be returning [both have recently had babies] and Richard Davison is getting a new horse.
“I would also be very surprised if Carl and [his up-and-coming grand prix horse] Merlin Nemorensis weren’t knocking on the door by this time next year.”
Laura Bechtolsheimer is hoping to ride at Rio with her home-bred eight-year-old Polar Bear.
“Teddy”, by Polarion, who is competing at advanced medium, has never scored below 70% or been beaten in competition.
Former Team GBR rider Anna Ross Davies believes there is a real depth of British-bred dressage talent and thinks places on future European Championships teams will be hard fought.
“The team picked itself this year, but I don’t think it will next,” she said.
Find out which horses Anna Ross Davies tips for future British teams on p21 of the current Horse & Hound magazine (16 August, 2012)