The Greatest Of All Time. This is a subject of discussion in many sports. Most recently I saw one about tennis players. Was it Federer? Nadal? Djokovic? Well I will leave that for another time but it got me thinking ….who is the GOAT for dressage? For me that is an easy one. Carl Hester.
Why? Because he is not just a great rider but also a great horseman. He makes sure his horses are not just schooled in the arena but get out hacking. They also get turn out. This applies to ALL his horses. When they arrive back from the Olympics his horses are turned out in the paddocks often with a companion horse. These are top competition horses that some riders would consider too valuable to risk being injured when turned out in a paddock, and the risk is increased when turned out with another horse.
He is also great coach. He has coached the entire British Dressage Team at the Olympics in 2016. He coaches Charlotte Dujardin who is one of the top dressage riders in the world.
He is a great clinician. I have watched two of his clinics and he is inspirational as well as being able to help, in a very practical way, all of the riders in the clinic. He brings a wonderful sense of humor that never belittles any of the riders .
When I was watching the World Equestrian Games, at Tryon in 2018, I was keen to see Carl ride. As soon as the announcer said his name the applause and cheering began. He was just coming down the chute to the arena and when he started to go around the outside of the competition arena the cheering and applause continued. As soon as he got the signal to start his test the audience went silent. He rode the test beautifully. Was it going to be the Gold Medal ride? Probably not, but at the final halt and salute the stadium erupted. Cheering! Clapping! Shouting! Carl looked toward the stands with a look of amusement.
Let me be clear. They were not cheering and clapping and shouting for that one ride . It was for all the rides that we have seen in other competitions, for all the training we knew he had given the other horses who have been in his charge, for the amazing coaching he has given to other riders. That is what the people were standing up and cheering for.
Later he was back watch his student Charlotte Dujardin ride .
Carl is seated in the middle in front of Groom Alan Davies.
For me Carl Hester is absolutely the G.O.A.T. for Dressage! During the Tokyo Olympics I saw on social media that a petition had been started to get an Knighthood for Carl. I signed it but so far nothing has happened. He already has an MBE (Master of the British Empire)
I think a Knighthood would be appropriate for someone who has had such a huge influence on the sport of Dressage and has had it over so many years. However in the meantime, for me, Carl Hester is the Greatest Of All Time in dressage.
Who would you vote for as the G.O.A.T. for Dressage? Please let me know in comments below. But please, no negative comments about Carl Hester as I will just delete them!😀