Riding: Judy Firmston-Williams and his own Sintano Van Hof Olympia (bay, gelding, 16.3hh, 11yrs, Sandro Hit x Silvano, Breeder: Hof Olympia NED, Groom: Steph Sharples)
Born and bred in Yorkshire, Gareth did his growing up in Australia where his riding started but more in the disciplines of western riding and showing. A return to British shores in 1998 aged 23 led to employment at Paradise Farm in Oxfordshire where his passion for dressage was kindled. A move to the northwest lead to him meeting Stephen Clarke, and the ride on a horse, and he’s never looked back.
Gareth got his first British Senior Team call up in 2013 for the European Championships where he was part of the bronze medal team with DV Stenkjers Nadonna. The duo was then selected for the World Equestrian Games in 2014 where they won team silver.
With Classic Briolinca, Gareth got a team call up to 2019 to the European Championships in Rotterdam. The duo helped the team to fourth spot and went on to finish seventh in the Special and tenth in the Freestyle.
Waiting in the wings has been Sintano van hof Olympia, aka 'Piglet', owned jointly BD List 1 judge Judy Firmston-Williams, who made his Grand Prix debut in 2020 and has gone from strength. Despite the challenges of COVID, the duo journeyed to Holland for a first international and posted two 72% scores. Less than a month later, they impressed further at Wellington CDI with nearly 74% in the Grand Prix and earning over 75% in the Special to catch the Selectors attention.
Gareth runs Hughes Dressage with wife Rebecca from their Warwickshire base which they’ve developed into a world class facility. Daughter Ruby is fast following in their footsteps with British team call ups imminent in not just dressage but vaulting too.
International personal bests with Sintano van hof Olympia
Grand Prix – 74.196%
Special – 75.298