Carl Hester’s London 2012 Olympic team gold medalist Uthopia has returned to the public spotlight, ridden by Charlotte Dujardin.
After winning the grand prix on Barolo, Carl hosted a demo at Bolesworth International, which featured the bouncy black stallion as a surprise addition.
Uthopia, now 16, has not been seen in competition since Amsterdam in January 2016, where he was ridden by Charlotte to over 82% in the freestyle.
“We only work him three days a week but I think he looks as good as he did in 2012,” said Carl as Uti bounced around the arena.
An ownership dispute erupted over the horse which eventually saw him auctioned in Ireland, selling to an anonymous bidder. A short time later, a new owner came forward and bought him for Carl, with whom he will now live out his days. The new owner wishes to remain anonymous.
At Bolesworth, Uthopia demonstrated that he still has all the ingredients for the grand prix work, showing tiny pirouettes, exceptionally expressive passage and rhythmic piaffe.
“He’s incredibly supple, with an expressive collected trot. He’s loving being here — probably more than the audience is,” joked Carl, who told the story of the seven 10s awarded to him and Uti for their final extended trot at the European Championships in 2011.
Charlotte rode a handful of long diagonals, and it’s clear that Uti still very much has that trot within him
“He’s done one extended trot in the last eight months — but they only have so many extended trots in them, so we don’t practise them all the time — but he’s come out here and done about five,” said Carl, who added that “Charlotte likes trotting, but I like cantering”.
The audience — which swelled for Carl’s demo — expressed their delight at seeing the little stallion again.
“It’s so lovely to show people what dressage should look like,” concluded Carl. “This is how it’s supposed to look.”