Nettex catch up with brand ambassador, Carl Hester
Sitting here in the sunshine it’s hard to believe that it’s only a few weeks to go until WEG and even though the final team hasn’t been announced yet we are fairly confident that myself with Delicato and Charlotte with Freestyle will be on there, fingers crossed!
It’s a very exciting WEG team prospect, because even though all of the potential team horses are relatively inexperienced they all have very experienced riders aboard them. Spencer, Emile and Gareth plus Charlotte and myself have all got plenty of international team experience so we have to make sure that our horses are given the best introduction to such a big event!
That being said the competition will be very stiff at WEG. I think that the Americans will benefit from having a supportive home crowd behind them – just as we had at London 2012 so I think that they may just have the edge – but I am hoping that we will be very close to the top two teams and a medal position of any colour would be fantastic! We are hoping to qualify for the 2020 Olympics so this is our opportunity to show what talent we have in our horses and get in a qualifying position!
With all the hot weather we have had in recent weeks it has prepared the horses for what they will fly into for WEG in Tryon, North Carolina. It is expected to be very hot and at least we have had the opportunity to acclimatise our horses for this. I have been surprised at how all our horses have coped. As riders we have been careful to cut the amount of time working them down to a minimum and had a lot of early morning starts! Electrolytes, plenty of fibre (to keep water in the digestive system to prevent dehydration) and plenty of cooling wash downs have also helped keep them comfortable and fit to perform.
All our feed and supplements are sent out to the WEG in the USA so they are ready for the horses when they arrive. All feedstuffs have to be checked and tested to rule out any potential testing issues – and it is then sealed and sent to the BEF ready for the flight. The horses are all checked and blood tested in the run up to the event to ensure they are in top health and regular vet checks are carried out. It’s a logistics nightmare for the BEF team to organise but they are so good at their jobs that as riders we aren’t stressed by the rules and red tape!
And while WEG may be uppermost on our minds here – as soon as WEG is over we are straight back to get to the BD National Championships. Charlotte and I fly back as soon as WEG finishes and land back on the Monday to get horses ready for the first day at the Nationals on the Thursday. Charlotte will be riding – but I am there in my capacity as a trainer.
Sadie who works for me has qualified two of my horses – Imhotep for the Novice and Nutbush for the Elementary plus her own horse for the Inter II. Chloe who work s here has also qualified her own horses so it will be q busy Team Hester at this year’s Nationals – plus being there to support all the other riders I train throughout the year.
While the new horses are getting an opportunity to shine and climb up the career ladder – the old boys who have semi-retired have also been out having fun. Blueberry went to Berkshire Polo club to do a demo a couple of weeks ago with Charlotte and he got very excited to be back on the lorry again. A freak gust of wind upended a huge marquee which flew across the arena – thank goodness Charlotte was on Valegro – as the crowds would agree – that Charlotte would have been on the floor if it was any other horse!
Uthopia has been teaching Sadie the finer points of the Grand Prix work and I also ride him occasionally to put him through his paces – and he may well make a surprise appearance at a demo this autumn – so watch this space!
We have plans to get Nip Tuck out to some winter shows – with the schedule being so busy with WEG, his schooling and fitness programme have been delayed but he will be out and about very soon.
As for my own summer – well holidays haven’t been very high on the priority list – but after the National Championships I plan to take a few days off and go to Spain and then I have some demonstrations in Sweden, Canada and HOYS.
So lots to look forward to and let’s hope that the young horses do us all proud at WEG.