Hester happy to rival British equestrian team-mates

Carl Hester admits he is only too happy to develop a selfish streak for London 2012 despite his protégé being one of his biggest rivals for individual dressage gold.


Hester is the first to point out his international career, despite featuring in three Olympics, has been a case of near-misses and what-might-have-beens.

However, the 45-year-old, perhaps spurred on by his sensational protégé Charlotte Dujardin, is enjoying an Indian summer to his career in the last three years – winning team World Equestrian Games silver in 2010.

Add that to European Championship medals galore – three silvers (two individual and one team) and a team gold – and the picture is painted of a realistic 2012 medal contender.

However, in the shape of Grand Prix Special world record holder Dujardin – who Hester has been coaching since 2007 – and Laura Bechtolsheimer the Team GB ace will certainly not have it all his own way in London.

But while Hester will be only too delighted to come together in the team event in the capital he admits, with London potentially his Olympic swansong, he’s not scared of putting his ambitions ahead of Dujardin and co.

“On our team we have two individual medallists and a world-record breaker all within the last 12 months, so that obviously makes us a very strong team,” he said.

“We would be disappointed if things didn’t go to plan.

“It is different for me because I am a coach as well as a rider. Charlotte Dujardin is my pupil and she is also riding my horse so there is going to be a battle as to who I would like to be higher at the top.

“Obviously with me coming towards the end of my career I hope it’s me unlike her, who is just starting out and has got a few more Olympics left.

“It is hard to ride and coach at the same time and I will have to focus on helping her as well as myself so it is an unusual situation.

“It has been a tremendous effort over the last two years to really discipline myself and put myself forward to get to this level again and try to be a top-team member rather than just an also-ran.

“But I certainly would like to have a year out after it is all over.

“Winning a gold medal would give me every good reason to retire. That would be a dream come true.”

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