Who is the G.O.A.T. for Dressage?

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 .

Carl Hester giving a Masterclass at Global Dressage Festival in Wellington.

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.

The British Team won the Bronze medal.

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.

Carl rewards his horse with a big pat after his final salute at the WEG Tryon 2018.

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!😀

16 Comments Add yours

  1. J.W.S. says:

    I’m a novice. My choice would agree with you. Or…how about GOAT meaning “Great of all time.” As it is so hard to pick the greatEST in any activity.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      That is a very good idea JWS. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. realriderz says:

    Yup can’t argue, he really is all-rounded.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Emma Cownie says:

    Carl Hester certainly has star quality – yes, I was wondering about the negative comments too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      WordPress comments are generally always positive but Facebook is another matter.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. David says:

    Carl is one of the finest, inside and outside of dressage. He is highly regarded in the showjumping world too. Dressage transitions are half of the sport of showjumping. If you can’t do transitions, you’re not going to be a terribly competitive showjumper.

    Some of the very best in equestrian sports come from modest backgrounds and seem not to have any connection with the horse world. I would put Trish in that category. Her dad, though he became a stable foreman, made his living as a stablehand, mucking out stalls everyday. He became foreman by supervising other stablehands. A stablehand not show up for work, Mr. Van Hollen did the work. This is how Trish got into showjumping. When she entered the sport, it was still male dominated. Trish proved she belonged. And, Trish, she still knows how to muck a stall. It will be so clean that you would want to eat off the stall floor. (Well, maybe not, she would say.) When Trish competes, it’s on her terms. And, she’s likely standing at the top of the podium.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I would love to meet Trish. She sounds like a good horseperson.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lesley says:

    . . . and what a lovely smile he has! Thank you for introducing me to the world of dressage, Anne. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It’s my pleasure Lesley.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Tanooki says:

    I’m not familiar with anything that horse is related just because I don’t have a chance by myself. But I always admire those who do horseback riding, the one I sometimes see on trails😊
    As I think about horse related sport, if someone in my country says they enjoy it, it means they are saying “Hi there, I’m Tanooki, a millionaire” but I wonder if it’s same as other countries🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I think that here it does not say “I’m a millionaire” There are some people involved with horses who are not well off. Carl Hester did not come from a rich family . He grew up on the isle of Sark where cars are not allowed so everyone had to ride a horse or donkey. I think it may be the same even today. Carl then went on to working for family that was well to do. The father in this family saw that Carl had a lot of talent as a rider and he saw to it that he had some good horses to ride. That gave Carl a start. But through all the years he has been at the top and riding for Great Britain in the Olympics etc. he has always had to work hard. He is a sensible man with a true love of horses.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tanooki says:

        Oh wow, thank you for telling me such a great story about Carl Hester. It’s always an amazing opportunity to learn about people from different place and different culture. And I agree that those who succeeded, the key has been having a history of hard working and passion to pursue their dream.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          Thank you Tanooki.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Avery says:

    People have negative things to say about Carl?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I got a very negative comment once on Facebook . I deleted it and unfriended the person.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Andrea Jones says:

    Persuasively argued!

    To nurture humans as well as horses indicates a unique patience.

    Liked by 1 person

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