Carl Hester homes in on golden summer

15 March 2012 / 09:06

Great Britain's dressage riders are on course to create Olympic history in London later this year - and team talisman Carl Hester cannot wait.

Britain has never won an Olympic dressage medal - team or individual - but current form not only points to podium places, it also suggests a golden summer at Greenwich Park. And for 44-year-old Hester, it is an opportunity to be grasped with both hands.

Three of the prospective British Olympic team - Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin - are currently ranked among the world's top five.

They also delivered the goods in Rotterdam, alongside Emile Faurie, last August by winning European team gold, while Hester and his brilliant stallion Uthopia collected two individual silvers.

Just for once, an Olympic dressage competition promises to not be all about European heavyweights Germany and Holland. And Gloucestershire-based Hester, who has won more than 50 national titles during his long career, is relishing the expectation and pressure that now accompanies world dressage's rising force.

"There will be pressure and expectation, but we want it and we are not afraid of it," Hester told Press Association Sport. "Laura has done it long enough, I've been doing it long enough and Charlotte will deal with the pressure. It's like 'come on, this is too good an opportunity to be missed'. It's good pressure to have on us.

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"Rotterdam was huge for us - I couldn't believe it. It is so easy in hindsight for people to say we were due it and everyone was saying we were going to get it, but actually getting it was another jump forward.

"Bear in mind I have been doing this for more than 20 years. I was so used to packing up and going home, not being depressed about not being in the prize-giving, because that is what I was used to.

"To see the winners' board that was on display during the week in Rotterdam, it contained just two names - the Netherlands and Germany. To know that Great Britain has slotted in there now is incredible.

"Germany still haven't quite got the three 80% horses that we've got, but winning medals, like last year, you don't think about it until afterwards when you get a moment to sit down and reflect."