Home Horse Training Carl Hester: ‘I’m dreaming huge in the meanwhile’

Carl Hester: ‘I’m dreaming huge in the meanwhile’

Carl Hester: ‘I’m dreaming huge in the meanwhile’


  • Carl Hester has triumphed in additional competitions than another British dressage rider and his assortment contains Olympic medals of all shades. With the Paris Olympics simply across the nook, what’s it that retains this good coach and rider motivated to proceed week-in, week-out? Some is likely to be shocked to study that it’s not the prospect of including to his spectacular medal assortment.

    “Competitions don’t drive me – they aren’t my cause for getting up,” says Carl. “I simply actually like coaching the horses. I don’t really feel I’ve unfulfilled ambitions; I’m simply completely happy to trip. If I’ve a horse subsequent yr, and it’s all understanding I’d like to [ride at the Paris Olympics]. It does take dedication and I’ve ready for that. However something can change at any time and if it did, I’d not really feel unfulfilled.”

    Carl Hester: a real inspiration

    Among the many many causes that Carl is such an enormous inspiration to riders world wide is that he didn’t come from a horsey household, rising up on the small British island of Sark, situated off the south coast within the English Channel. He has labored laborious on his technique to his present scenario and says he feels privileged to dwell the life he does.

    “I’ve been a type of fortunate ones, significantly coming from a non-horsey background,” he says. “It’s taken years to get right here, with my very own yard and proudly owning my very own horses. However the truth that I can stroll out of my door and trip – that’s sufficient!”

    Carl Hester riding En Vogue at home.

    Carl Hester driving En Vogue at residence in his outside enviornment.

    His horses are the equestrian equal of jet setters, flying across the globe to participate in World Championships, Europeans and Olympics Video games, however at residence they lead a really regular life, as has been broadly documented.

    “I consider in a diverse life for horses,” says Carl. “We solely work them 4 days every week within the enviornment and the remainder of the time is predicated on health, hacking, hill work and turnout.” He has all the time taken this strategy as a result of “it’s simply the way in which I learnt how one can take care of horses”. Carl grew up on the small Channel Island surrounded carriage horses. “There have been no stables, all of them lived out, all of them labored all summer time and appeared to handle fairly effectively.”

    Some within the equestrian world are shocked that elite grand prix dressage horses can dwell the same life to these carriage horses in Sark, though understanding the significance of giving all horses entry to freedom, forage and pals is changing into extra widespread. Carl says: “It typically appears fairly unreal that you’re having conversations concerning the reality you retain horses in the way in which that nature supposed. It feels bizarre that persons are shocked you can have a workforce horse like Vogue who truly lives out.”

    Whereas giving horses loads of subject time is amongst Carl’s key philosophies, he tailors this to what works finest for the person horse: “If the horse is a very very laid-back character they usually dwell out at night time, they have an inclination to have much less vitality for driving – so these horses would possibly exit within the day. These with sizzling temperaments and an enormous work ethic – they’d be higher horses for dwelling out in a single day.”

    Valegro continues to be having fun with his retirement at Carl Hester yard in Gloucestershire.

    Carl’s horses additionally go hacking from residence, are led out in hand, go to the water treadmill at Hartpury, and are taken out within the lorry for rides “in order that they have a relaxed angle to going out”. He reminds us that “schooling isn’t all the time about competing”.

    Carl Hester on maintaining horses completely happy

    Whereas prioritising a pure life-style, how else does Carl Hester maintain his horses completely happy? “The factor I’d say about horses which have come from no turnout, or you already know, fixed education, is that it could possibly actually deaden their character,” he says. He additionally believes it’s critical that horses can work together with each other: “In my yard they’ll contact one another within the stables, and they’re turned out collectively so they’re by no means remoted. That interplay with one other horse – it simply brings out their character.”

    Other than horse care, what recommendation does Carl supply for the aspiring competitors rider? “Individuals want to grasp how lengthy a coaching programme is – years and years. You’ll be able to’t get there on a fast repair,” he says, whereas expertise is a profit in any equestrian self-discipline. “It’s not a sport the place older folks will disappear of their 30s as a result of they’re too outdated or too stiff. It truly is a sport the place the extra expertise you acquire, the extra you go on.”

    He suggests youthful riders faucet into the data of their elders: “First, attempt to get your self to a base the place you possibly can observe and study from folks you respect and admire. The largest mindset change for me was after I bought my head across the reality you’ve got to place within the years and time and begin coaching your personal horses. Once you begin doing that, you begin understanding every part – you develop into a horse individual, slightly than only a horse rider.”

    Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin have a purely professonal working relationship

    Charlotte Dujardin and Gio prepare alongside Carl Hester and Hawtins Delicato at residence in 2018.

    For Carl Hester, it’s all concerning the coaching. “As a competitor, your intention is grand prix and it’s going to take you, particularly along with your first horse, one thing like six, seven, eight years to really prepare a horse to the very best ranges. After all, that appears like 1,000,000 miles away whenever you’re actually younger, however it’s not, it goes actually shortly,” he provides enthusiastically. “And you may study from each horse. Even those that aren’t so gifted could be taught to do a little bit of every part in direction of grand prix.”

    Any pupil is extraordinarily fortunate to get to coach with Carl Hester – however he believes the connection is mutually useful. College students, he says, “are actually good in your personal character. You simply have to grasp that everyone is making an attempt to get higher. Individuals don’t come for classes to not do what you say. Progress is commonly small and plateaus at instances, however that’s greater than sufficient for some. It doesn’t all the time need to be in leaps and bounds.”

    Recommendation on shopping for horses

    As for purchasing horses, whereas the market is extremely buoyant in the meanwhile, Carl Hester cautions that throwing huge sums of cash round “doesn’t imply the horse goes to be gifted sufficient to get there, or keep sound, or have the need to do it”. His concept is to take pleasure in coaching the horse, however you’ll want to be in an financial place that if it goes unsuitable, enormous quantities of money aren’t misplaced.

    Famously Carl purchased Valegro for £4,000, however he highlights that the market was very completely different 20 years in the past, saying that, on the time Valegro’s price ticket was not a one-off. Though, that isn’t to say maintaining your eyes peeled for a superb worth immediately is a waste of time, and in his personal phrases, “who isn’t all the time on the hunt for a discount?”.

    Carl Hester and Fame after a great test at the European Dressage Championships

    Carl Hester waves to the group after a wonderful grand prix take a look at on Fame on the European Dressage Championships in Riesenbeck.

    Trying forward, Carl is delighted together with his present prime mount, Fame, who helped the European workforce to workforce gold and “actually gave his all this yr”.

    He’s additionally bought a few younger horses, but to be seen and unnamed, that he’s additionally enthusiastic about. One is a six-year-old by Utopia and the opposite is a five-year-old referred to as Eskimo at residence, who is eighteen arms and at the moment being ridden by Sadie Smith.

    As per normal, Carl Hester is the right mixture between philosophical and optimistic, saying: “What we should keep in mind with younger horses is they’re all desires – however I’m dreaming huge in the meanwhile.”

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