Thursday, 2 August 2012

77.720% for Carl Hester and Uthopia who lead the grand prix dressage competition after the first 13 riders.

Carl commented; "That’s my second international show of the year so I’m very happy, it felt like a good performance; I know it’s not the highest mark I’ve had but I have to take into account it’s the Olympics, it’s the toughest standard, and I’m obviously in the first group.

"I’m delighted, we had one mistake where he changed in the extended canter which was costly, that took me down under the 78% which would have been my ideal score I think to start with but hey, 77% is still great. The horse felt good, he’s moving well and you can’t prepare a horse for what we’ve just done. There’s nowhere in the world that I’ve been on a young horse that could prepare for the noise and the feeling and the atmosphere, so all that taken into account I’ve had a great ride and it’s a good start for us.

"The arena is amazing, thank god it feels so far away for the horses and they don’t feel the pressure of the people. When you get that moment of tension at the beginning of the test when the noise at the beginning is so great, of course the first thing you have to do is stand still and you know, that’s the tell tale sign, does it accept it or does it not.

"It wasn’t the ideal place [in the draw to ride] so I had to make a decision with Laura and Charlotte that I would go first; Charlotte and I have to have this gap between us so that we get the warming up right. I just felt that with Charlotte on such a high mark earner at the moment it would be better for her to ride last. At the end of the day if we need an 85% score, well Charlotte has got 85 and over this year; let’s hope it isn’t one of those shows where things go wrong but you never know. She’s never let us down yet and please god may that last 10 more days!

"Alf and Blueberry are two sensitive, hot horses; very often in the second test, which we’ve never done before as a team, you find the horses settle and the scores come up so the new format could suit them. A little bit like we saw with Annabel Balkenhol. That’s typical of a hot horse; I’m sure by the grand prix special next Tuesday the horse will climb back up the scores again so it will be fascinating to see. That’s why it’s important to get the highest scores possible in the grand prix; because I think that by then, those type of horses will be much better."

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