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All-male dressage team for Great Britain

last updated on July 28, 2017 14:24

All-male dressage team for Great Britain

The British Equestrian Federation has today, 28 July 2017, announced the UK Sport National Lottery funded dressage squad which will compete at the FEI Longines European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden (21-27 August 2017).

This year’s team is an all-male team, the first in 40 years, and boasts a wealth of experience with Carl Hester heading to his eighth European Championships alongside Emile Faurie, for whom this is his fifth time. His first appearance came in 1993.

The selected squad has been named by British Dressage selectors as (alphabetical order):

Emile Faurie, 53, based in Oxfordshire, with Hof Kasselmann’s Weekend Fun (chestnut, gelding, 17hh, 16yrs, Welt Hit II x Rubenstein I, stable name: Fun)
Carl Hester MBE, 50, based in Gloucestershire, with Jane de la Mare and his own Nip Tuck (bay, gelding, 18hh, 13yrs, s. Don Ruto, stable name: Barney)
Gareth Hughes, 46, based in Warwickshire, with Anne and Steve Keen’s Don Carissim(brown, gelding, 16.2hh, 12yrs, s. Don Crusador, stable name: Darcy)
Spencer Wilton, 44, based in Berkshire, with Jen Goodman’s Super Nova II (dark brown, gelding, 16.3hh, 14yrs, De Niro x Weltmeyer, stable name: Neville)

Emile is also selected with Elena Knyagincheva’s Lollipop 126 as a direct reserve  (bay, gelding, 16.3hh, 13yrs, Lord Sinclair x Welt Hit, stable name: Lollipop).

Named reserve:

Lara Butler, 29, based in Gloucestershire, with Dr Wilfried Bechtolsheimer’s Rubin Al Asad (bay, gelding, 17.1hh, 15yrs, Rubin Royal x Wanderbursch II, stable name: Rufus)

Performance Manager, Caroline Griffith says: “There has been strength and depth in the field of combinations for the selectors to choose from this year, which is a testament to the ever rising standards in dressage and bodes well as we look to Tokyo 2020. I would like to thank the riders, owners and support teams who have campaigned throughout the year and made it such an exciting season. Also, thank you to UK Sport and the National Lottery for backing the World Class Programme and to our sponsors for supporting us.”

“We go to the European Championships with an extremely experienced squad who are focussed and targeted on delivering their best performances. I am delighted to be taking this team to Gothenburg in what will be my first major championships as a Performance Manager, a challenge that I am relishing. They have all worked incredibly hard to get to this position and I wish them every success in Sweden.

British Dressage Chief Executive, Jason Brautigam says: “This is a very strong team with a lot of experience at this level, with two of our Olympic silver medal winners from Rio last year, Carl and Spencer, both retaining their places after continuing their great form this season. It is also fantastic to welcome back Emile and Gareth to the team, after their last appearances at the European Championships in 2011 and World Equestrian Games in 2014 respectively, with horses making their championship debuts.

“While we may have had to say farewell to Valegro, our star performer of the past five years, who was always going to be difficult to replace, it is testament to the strength in depth of Team GBR that we can still field such a strong line-up of experienced riders.

“We wish Caroline and the team the best of luck in Sweden, as well as expressing our thanks and appreciation to the owners, staff and home teams for all of their support on the journey to Gothenburg."

The British senior teams are supported by the BEF’s UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme.

Comments from selected athletes on their selection:

Emile Faurie: “I am thrilled to be back in the squad, representing my country at what will be my sixth European Championships. Weekend Fun is a very reliable horse at 16 years-old and I am excited to be taking him to his first championships. My focus now is to make sure both horses are fresh and healthy and in a routine ready for Gothenburg.”

Carl Hester MBE: “Barney [Nip Tuck] just goes from strength to strength and has exceeded all our expectations. Gothenburg will be our fourth straight championship appearance and at just 13, Jane and I couldn’t ask for more. It’ll be a tough task but we’ll certainly do our best. Our pony team recently showed just what ‘girl power’ can achieve with a bronze medal; now it’s down to us guys to show what we can do!”

Gareth Hughes: “It's always an honour to be selected to represent your country. Anne and Steve Keen have owned Darcy [Don Carissimo] since he was a foal, so it's been an amazing journey for them. This is Darcy's first year at Grand Prix level and he has performed way beyond our expectations. I'm really looking forward to riding him at these Championships alongside this very exciting team.”

Spencer Wilton: “I was in a slightly different position this year compared with last, in that I’ve had a really strong season so I wasn’t feeling the pressure as much as I was when waiting for the phone call for the Olympic Games. But still hearing the words is a massive relief and it’s a huge honour. I definitely learnt a lot about myself and Neville [Super Nova II] in Rio and I gained a lot of confidence from seeing him cope with the bigger situation better than he had done in the past. He’s come back bigger and stronger this season as we’ve had a number of personal bests and I can’t wait to take him to the Championships.”

Connect:

W: www.equestrianteamgbr.co.uk
F: Equestrian Team GBR
T: @TeamGBR

W: www.britishdressage.co.uk
F: British Dressage
T: @britishdressage



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