What a fantastic opportunity it was to see our 2016 Olympic dressage team in action at the Hartpury Festival of Dressage, pre Rio.
Whilst everyone knows Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin are based near Newent, in Gloucestershire, Olympic team rookie Spencer Wilton’s ride ‘Super Nova II’ was bred in Monmouthshire and initially produced in Herefordshire.
Super Nova was bred by the late Mrs Kirby from Grosmont, Monmouthshire. The Slaters, who own Ruxton Horses, bought quite a few foals from Mrs Kirby over the years, including Super Nova. Mr Slater first spotted him in the field while Melanie’s eye had initially been caught by another foal. Dad chose well! Although Melanie says Super Nova was very ugly as a youngster, when Melanie started to break him in she realised he was very special and destined for greatness!! She competed him in young horse classes and qualified and competed him at the nationals. When Melanie took Super Nova for a lesson with her trainer Carl Hester, Carl loved him and bought him. He was 6 at the time. Jen Goodman, who is from Warfield in Berkshire, bought him from Carl when he was 7 and Spencer Wilton has ridden and trained ‘Neville’ since then. He has impressed at every level. When asked if she would be going out to Rio, owner Jen said “Yes try and stop me!”
The other team member is Fiona Bigwood from West Sussex riding the gorgeous mare Atterupgaards Orthilia.
Good luck to all. No doubt there will be medals won, it’s just a question of which colour! Go for Gold!!
The team for Rio is as follows:
Fiona Bigwood, age 40, based West Sussex, with Penny Bigwood and Neils and Lis Dahl’s Atterupgaards Orthilia
Charlotte Dujardin OBE, age 30, based Gloucestershire, with Rowena Luard, Anne Barrott and Carl Hester’s Valegro
Carl Hester MBE, age 49, based Gloucestershire, with Jane De La Mare and his own Nip Tuck
Spencer Wilton, age 43, based Reading, with Jennifer Goodman and his own Super Nova II
(Travelling Reserve: Lara Griffith, age 27, based Gloucestershire, with Dr Wilfried and Ursula Bechtolsheimer’s Rubin Al Asad)