Carl Hester and Nip Tuck competing in the Freestyle in Lyon, where they came second
The FEI World Cup Dressage Final kicks off today and all Britain’s hopes are pinned on Carl Hester.
Carl is the only British rider to make it to the dressage and jumping finals in Omaha, USA. He will be competing his Olympic silver partner Nip Tuck against 17 other combinations, from 12 different countries.
Included in the line-up are world number one Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD, who will be representing Germany, and world number four Laura Graves and Verdades who are competing on home turf.
Isabell has won the World Cup final twice before and is the most decorated dressage rider in Olympic history, with a total of 10 medals. Can she achieve a hat-trick?
Also keen to make his mark is last year’s champion Hans Peter Minderhoud, who is back with Glock’s Flirt to defend their title. Fellow Dutch rider Edward Gal is competing in his 10th World Cup Final, this time with Glock’s Voice.
You can see the full list of starters here.
Charlotte Dujardin enjoyed back-to-back wins in 2014 and 2015 – so can Carl bring the title back to Britain?
The pair is on great form and is currently fifth in the FEI world rankings, as well as the Western European League. They enjoyed a double win at the qualifier at London Olympia and came second at both the Lyon and Amsterdam qualifiers. You can watch their great performance in the Freestyle in Lyon in the video above.
If anyone can keep a cool head under pressure it’s Carl, but can his partner ‘Barney’ do the same? Even his boarding pass on the flight to the USA said ‘big and spooky’. According to Carl, he has lost his appetite and is feeling a bit jet lagged after the journey. Barney, that is – Carl is still eating well!
Carl and Judy Reynolds were asked to make the draw for the Grand Prix, and Carl drew himself sixth to go. He rides at 2.45pm US time, which is 8.45pm over here.
“How did it end up with me sixth to go and Isabell last?!” Carl joked on Facebook.
Ireland’s Judy Reynolds made history last year when she became the first Irish rider to qualify for a Dressage World Cup Final last year, finishing in eighth place with Vancouver K.
You can catch highlights from the World Cup Final right here on H&C. FEI World Cup Dressage: Final is on Sunday 9 April at 9pm on Sky 253, or you can watch online by subscribing to H&C Play.