Carl Hester wins 66th National Dressage Championship title

Theresa McCaffrey

Carl Hester has won the grand prix freestyle event at the National Dressage Championships atStoneleigh Park.

This represents the 66th championship title for Hester, who rode his horse, Fine Time to victory this weekend with a score of 76.65 per cent.

He rode the stallion in July at Hickstead international and the duo went in to the 2013 Espayo National Dressage Championships with high hopes.

Speaking to Horse and Hound after the event Hester said: "I so enjoyed riding the test. We've been working on the horse's 'go' and, where he was a bit too hot yesterday, today he had the right amount of power. He's really enjoying himself and I love riding him."

Finishing in second place was Anders Dahl riding Wie Atlantico, while Lara Griffith came in third position with Bechtolsheimers' Andretti H.

Hester is originally from the tiny Channel island of Sark, which has no cars, meaning horses are a big part of community life. He learned to ride at an early age and took part in local races and dressage competitions.

As a teenage he moved to Hampshire and began competing. This led him to win the 1985 Young Dressage Rider Championship, before going on to join the Blenheim Horse Trials and winning more events.

He has since gone on to compete in the World Championships, European Championships and also the Olympic Games in Barcelona, where Hester became the youngest British rider to ever compete.

On his personal website he explained that this opportunity "was the most amazing thing that had ever happened to me, and a period that changed the course of my life".

He was honoured with an MBE for his contribution to riding and gained worldwide recognition at the London 2012 Olympics where he took home a team gold, something he describes as "the proudest moment of my life".