Britain’s best horse and rider combinations will be gracing the Olympia Grand for the FEI Dressage World CupTM Grand Prix and FEI Dressage World CupTM Freestyle to Music, both supported by Horse & Hound, on Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 December.
Triple Olympic gold medalist, Charlotte Dujardin CBE will be riding her exciting Olympic prospect Mount St John Freestyle, and Carl Hester MBE, brings with him his top ride Hawtins Delicato, giving spectators the chance to witness world-class action across the two nights of Dressage competition.
With the 2020 Olympics fast approaching, Olympia will be a pivotal event for competitors, both in terms of preparation but also as a crucial opportunity to impress the Team GB selectors. Successful results at the Show could have an impact on team selection for Tokyo next year.
Keen to impress the selectors will be four-time Olympian and former British number one, Richard Davison riding Bubblingh, a combination who were part of the winning FEI CDIO5* Nations CupTM team in Compiègne earlier this year. He will be joined by teammate from that event, Charlotte Fry, riding the ten-year-old stallion, Everdale. Olympia will also welcome Lara Butler, aboard Rubin Al Asad. The combination were part of the second-placed team in the CDIO3* Nations CupTM at Hickstead, where she also won the individual Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle to Music titles. Rounding up a strong British contingent will be Louise Bell and Gareth Hughes, both of whom are having a career best season, having each broken several personal best scores.
Heading a strong international challenge will be 2018 Olympia victors Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED), who returns with Glock’s Dream Boy N.O.P, the combination which won the FEI Dressage World CupTM Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound last year, and Frederic Wandres (GER), who took the FEI Dressage World CupTM Freestyle supported by Horse & Hound from Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin, despite finishing on the same score.
Following a successful summer, which included victory in the Grand Prix Special at Hickstead, Portugal’s João Miguel Torrao, a pupil of Carl Hester, will also be one to watch, riding his 10-year-old Quo Vadis stallion, Equador.
The full Dressage line-up can be found here.
With four of the world’s top five Drivers set to take their place in the starting line-up at Olympia, the competition will be hotter than ever.
World No.1 Boyd Exell, returns to the Show seeking to continue where he left off, following his emphatic victory in the FEI Driving World CupTM Leg last year. The Australian driver, FEI World Equestrian GamesTM gold medalist at the last three consecutive Games, comes to Olympia on the back of a superb victory in the FEI Driving World CupTM of Stuttgart in November.
One of Exell’s closest rival, Dutchman Koos de Ronde, the World No.4, also returns to the Show, looking to put the pressure on the man who has dominated the sport for so long. Fellow countryman Ijsbrand Chardon, currently ranked third in the world, and runner-up to Exell at the FEI World Equestrian GamesTM in 2018, will be another to provide a significant challenge.
World No.5, Chester Weber, representing the USA, team gold medalist from the FEI World Equestrian GamesTM in 2018, will be another to look out for, as will Britain’s Daniel Naprous, famed for his work as a stunt rider in productions such as Game of Thrones and Star Wars, with his trademark tight turns and unwavering pace.
The confirmed Driving entries can be found here.