The Olympics and the medals won by Charlotte Dujardin, Carl Hester and Laura Bechtolsheimer seems like a long time ago but it was only 9 months ago. I thought that it was time to take a look at what the horses and riders in the senior dressage team have been doing in 2013.
Valegro – Olympics Individual & Team Gold
There has been a lot of discussion about Valegro being sold. And the inevitable press speculation about how many £millions he would be sold for. There was an attempt to set up a consortium on Facebook that would buy him for Charlotte to compete and ride. Carl didn’t endorse the large consortium because of legal and practical issues of working with such a large consortium. I had a look at the Facebook page and I must admit I was not comfortable with it because the page asked for money to be sent to a solicitor who was not based on the UK mainland – I cant remember the exact location. I am sure the initiative was started by a well intentioned Valegro fan but I personally was uncomfortable sending a cheque. I don’t think it was a scam but there was a possibility.
Carl and Roly Luard have tried, and possibly are still trying, to set up a smaller consortium by contacting a small group of friends. The aim is to keep Valegro in the UK for Charlotte to compete and to continue training with Carl even if it means compromising on the price. I have read that Carl is even happy to underwrite the day to day costs of keeping Valegro.
Since the Olympics, Valegro has only competed at Olympia where he scored a new world record score of 84.447% to win the class and qualify for the Freestyle where he won with a score of 87.975%. Since then he has been in light work. Carl has been quoted as saying “…If we were to do anything, we would bring him back at the end of May.” So there may be another opportunity to see Valegro in competition in the next few months.
Uthopia – Olympics Team Gold
Following the Olympics it was announced that Uthopia is up for sale. However, Uthopia is caught up in an ownership dispute which resulted in an injunction that has prevented him travelling outside the UK to compete internationally. The terms of this injunction were subject to legal review in a Northern Ireland court with the aim of releasing Uthopia to Carl who as the part owner could then take him outside the UK and sell him.
Since Uthopia has recently competed at Saumur, which is obviously outside the UK, the implication is that the court has now sealed this agreement. If this is the case then the good news is that Uthopia can now compete internationally but the bad news is that this presumably means he can also be sold. However, I have not been able to find anything on the Internet about potential buyers.
Recently, the big news has been that Uthopia has a new rider. Charlotte is now competing on Uthopia and she took him to Saumur where they scored 72.255% to win the Grand Prix qualifier for the Freestyle. And in the Freestyle they continued their domination to win with 81.600%. In both these tests all the judges scored them to win. With all this international and Olympic success it is sometimes hard to remember that Charlotte’s first international competition was only in 2011. The fact that she can win international competitions on both Valegro and Uthopia demonstrates the depth of her talent.
Mistral Højris – Olympics Team Gold and individual bronze
Mistral Højris is now 18 years old and it was thought that he would retire after the Olympics. However, Laura now plans to compete him in 2013 and retire him after the European Championships, Denmark in August where Great Britain will be defending the team title. Laura is quoted as saying that she will not compete him unless he is 100% and that the European Championships will be his last competition at Championship level.
Mistral Højris returned to international competition in April 2013 when he competed at CDI Hagen. Mistral Højris demonstrated that even at 18 he can still win both the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special with scores of 79.064% and 81.021% respectively.
Laura has also married and now competes under her married name of Laura Tomlinson. I have to admit this is a bit of a relief for me because I am never confident that I have spelt Bechtolsheimer correctly