All Time Favourite Riders: Carl Hester (Dressage)

Carl was raised on the tiny Channel island of Sark, the island has no cars and horses are very much part of Sark life.

At 19 Carl had no ambition or aspirations but with no jobs on Sark and winter coming he decided to apply for a job with horses on the mainland. Through an advertisement in Horse and Hound Carl arrived at the Fortune Centre in Hampshire, where adults with learning and physical disabilities are given a sense of freedom and achievement through riding. It was there Carl had his first opportunity to compete and it was on the Fortune Centre’s skewbald mare, Jolly Dolly, that Carl won the 1985 Young Dressage Rider Championship.

Though he started out as an Eventer (he entered the first ever Blenheim Horse Trials), Dressage was Carl’s true calling.

Carl’s career took the most dramatic turn when Dr Bechtolsheimer approached him to join his yard as a rider.

“I rode and trained with Dr B for three and a half years and in 1990 went to the World Championships on Rubelit von Unkenriff, the European Championships in 1991 and in 1992 the Barcelona Olympics on Georgioni. I was the youngest British rider to ever compete in an Olympic Games. It was the most amazing thing that had ever happened to me, and a period that changed the course of my life.”

Carl now owns his own yard, is always part of the British Dressage Team at the Olympics and is universally recognised as one of the best dressage riders today, and living proof that hard work will get you where you want to be in the end. 

He demonstrates this again and again giving people the opportunity to work under him and achieve greatness through hard work, a perfect example being Charlotte Dujardin who came to work for him in 2007 after leaving school at 16, who is now a Dressage World Champion, beating many world records, including her own, and getting Individual Gold at the London 2012 Olympics.