Medal hopes: Laura Bechtolsheimer

Dressage runs in the Bechtolsheimer family.


In 1995 Wilfried Bechtolsheimer represented Great Britain at the 1995 European Championships. In 2012, his daughter, Laura, is one of Team GB's top gold medal prospects at the London Olympics.

The 27-year-old, who was born in Germany, began to concentrate on dressage at the age of 13 after having started out in eventing.

An 18th-placed finish in the individual grand prix special and a sixth-place finish in the team event at the Beijing 2008 Olympics earned Bechtolsheimer the British Dressage's Rider of the Year award.

However, 2009 was Bechtolsheimer's real breakthrough year. At the age of just 20, she became the youngest-ever British dressage national champion. The same year, she claimed bronze at the European Championships — Great Britain's first individual dressage medal for 16 years — as well as a team silver.

The 2010 World Equestrian Games brought further success for Bechtolsheimer, who set new personal best scores and secured three British International Grand Prix records to claim three silver medals.

Last year, Bechtolsheimer was part of the Team GB quartet that won a first-ever team gold medal at the European Championships, and she also claimed a bronze in the individual special event.

In December 2011, Bechtolsheimer — and her horse, Mistral Hojris, who is also known as Alf — were in superb form to win the dressage freestyle event at the London International Horse Show at Olympia, with compatriots Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester taking second and third place respectively.

Bechtolsheimer became the first ever Briton to win the class, but loftier targets await at London 2012.

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