When I saw the ragtag daily prompt, ‘Brilliance‘ I immediately thought of Carl Hester and the day I saw him competing at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon NC last September. Why did this make me think of Carl Hester? Because he is the acknowledged master of dressage, not only in his native Britain and not only as a rider but also as a trainer and coach. At the Rio Olympics 2016 he was the coach of all the members of the British Dressage Team as well as competing on the team himself! But that is not all!
When Carl rode into the stadium on that hot day in September, the crowd started to clap and cheer as soon as he was announced. That really never happens. Dressage spectators are a quiet lot. They don’t want to upset the horse by creating a furor. But that did not deter them on that day. They wanted to let Carl know how much he was appreciated. They only went silent when the bell was rung for him to start his test.
And when he finished? The whole place erupted! Cheering! Foot stomping! Hand waving! Whistles! Shouts! A Standing Ovation!
It was not because the spectators thought his was going to be the winning ride. It was not because he had a record breaking score. It was because he is a brilliant horseman. Carl Hester has been a competitor in multiple Olympics, he has won innumerable National Titles in Britain, he has trained the world’s highest scoring dressage rider, Charlotte Dujardin, riding the horse he discovered, the now retired Valegro. Everyone knows how he well looks after his horses and how they all have daily turnout and how regular hacks and gallops are part of their routines.
It is the sum of all these things that constitutes the brilliance of this man. It is not a flash in the pan . This particular brilliance has been years in the making.
That is my take on “brilliance”.