Naturally blessed with athleticism and presence, the striking Michellino gelding overcame stage fright with the help of Laura Tomlinson to join the top flight and take his place in British dressage history. Polly Bryan charts his story
When a 19-year-old Laura Bechtolsheimer (now Tomlinson) first sat on an imposing nine-year-old chestnut gelding in Denmark, she instantly knew he was special. What she couldn’t have known, back then, was the impact that Mistral Højris would have, not just on her own career, but on British dressage as a whole.
The sport has seen remarkable transformation over the past 12 years, its British riders rising from middle ranking also-rans to the very best in the world. The great Valegro is widely credited as the catalyst for this success, but in fact it was Laura and Mistral Højris – known as Alf – who played a major part in setting the wheels in motion.
Between 2008 and 2012, Laura and Alf won four championship team medals and five individual medals, their greatest triumph coming at the London Olympics as they helped Britain to a euphoric gold, then went on to claim individual bronze with a scintillating freestyle. But despite Alf’s early promise, there were plenty of moments during the first few years of his and Laura’s partnership when many wondered whether Alf would ever come up with the goods.
You may also be interested in:
Laura Tomlinson’s current top ride is the eight-year-old mare Rose Of Bavaria, whom Laura is hoping to campaign for British
We have rounded up some of the greatest, most memorable dressage freestyle performances of all time. Turn the volume up,
Since their respective retirements, we perhaps haven’t seen quite so much of these remarkable horses, so here’s a quick look
“The partnership and the silhouette of Edward and Toto became iconic, something those of us lucky enough to see them