Watch Carl Hester at home: ‘I can’t wait to get out of bed and train horses towards grand prix’

Dressage videos 28 Videos Amy Woodhead: how to ride a canter half pass to wow the judges 02:58 Amy Woodhead: how working for Carl Hester has set her up for success 06:14 Watch Carl Hester at home: 'I can't wait to get out of bed and train horses towards grand prix' 02:31 Tales from Hartpury: the nine-year-old rising star with an Olympic dream 02:35 Winter Dressage Championships day four: one-two for Dujardin 03:43 Sophie Wells' rising star impresses on prix st georges gala night 01:22 Winter Dressage Championships day three: former runaway horse shows what she's made of for championship first-timer 03:30 Tales from Hartpury: the event horse making waves in her new career 01:56 Tales from Hartpury: Five horses and 13 tests — but did this rider remember where to go? 01:04 Tales from Hartpury: the horse with a rare skin condition that travelled in first gear for six miles 02:02 Winter Dressage Championships day two: Dujardin wants her rising star's foal for Easter 03:35 Tales from Hartpury: meet the family pony rubbing shoulders with dressage's big guns 01:08 Winter Dressage Championships day one: a shock victory and a horse defies the odds to do a double 04:43 H&H dressage editor’s Area Festival video diary: Disbelieving the results of my small and fairly average horse 05:03 Watch Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro's European freestyle dressage test 07:13 Watch Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro wow the crowds at Hartpury 09:37 What is 'breath energy' and could it help your riding? 03:48 Watch Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro's freestyle on a catch ride 06:38 Ruth Edge: How to ride the perfect 10m circle 01:18 Exclusive: watch Valegro work out on a water treadmill 02:46 'Squat to exhaustion': meet Alice Oppenheimer 02:43 Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin: A bit of banter 03:15 Maria Eilberg: How to improve your horse's walk 02:03 Maria Eilberg: how to improve your horse’s trot 01:21 Michael Eilberg: How to ride a square halt 03:35 Michael Eilberg: introducing collection in canter 05:01 Michael Eilberg: teaching your horse to rein back 05:03 Watch Farouche's winning test at the BD nationals 05:44

As the the Olympic dressage gold-medallist prepares to make the trip from his Gloucestershire home to Royal Windsor Horse Show next week (10-14 May 2017), he explain what is so special about his sport

What is so special about dressage?

“Dressage is a beautiful sport — it’s about a perfect partnership between a horse and a rider,” says Carl Hester. “I’ve really enjoyed the training from the bottom to the top. It’s something I absolutely relish every day. I can’t wait to get out of bed and train horses towards grand prix.”

Why do you look forward to Royal Windsor?

“To have a show like Windsor that I can compete at is always something I look forward to. It is easy to get to, everybody is so welcoming and friendly when we get there, for the riders we have these amazing surfaces and of course it creates a fantastic atmosphere having the castle in the background,” he says.

“There’s an awful lot to do at Royal Windsor, not only if you’re interested in dressage, but if you’re a foodie, if you like the shopping and you like watching horses in general. There are so many classes there that you can watch and learn from.

“I’m taking Barolo to Windsor. He did the demonstration last year and so it will be very different for him this year with the pressure of competing. It will be a nice introduction for me and him into international dressage.”

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What do you look for in a dressage horse?

“A dressage horse has to have three good paces — that’s walk, trot and canter. Done well it looks extremely easy, but in fact it’s very difficult. The horses have to be extreme athletes to do this. Keeping a horse happy and sound and actually ready to do the competing is more than just riding — it’s about being an all-round horseman. So it’s about nutrition, psychology, fitness for horse and rider, and really leaving no stone unturned to make it to the top.

“Charlotte and I share the yard here, and we work together most days with our horses. I think people perhaps thought that after Valegro retired that that would be the end of Charlotte. But I see what’s happening everyday and she’s got an amazing mare called Mount St John Freestyle — she’s one of the most exciting horses in the yard. She makes dressage just look amazing and she’s turning into quite a superstar.”

The level of dressage competition at Windsor is higher than ever this year with a four-star class taking place, with the grand prix on the Thursday night (11 May) and the freestyle on the Friday night (12 May).

Don’t miss our full report from Royal Windsor Horse Show in the 18 May issue of Horse & Hound magazine

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