Dressage horse 'Alf' to make final bow at Olympia

Theresa McCaffrey

A horse that has been instrumental in defining modern British dressage will make its final bow at Olympia, the London International Horse Show.

Laura Tomlinson (nee Bechtolsheimer) and her dressage partner Mistral Højris, commonly referred to as Alf, have been competing together for years and first broke onto the international dressage circuit in 2005. Together they have helped to put the sport on the map in the UK and culminated in the crowning glory of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The duo claimed team gold and individual at the summer Games and went alongside the multitude of accolades they have collected during their career. They claimed their first at the 2005 FEI European Championships for Juniors and Young Riders in Barzago in Italy, claiming team silver and individual bronze. Laura and Alf carried on this form into the 2009 FEI Europeans in Windsor and then claimed further medals at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games and the 2011 FEI Europeans in Rotterdam.

However, all good things must come to an end and Laura confirmed that Alf will be making his last appearance at Olympia. She stressed that it would not be a sad occasion and more of a celebration of the 18-year-old gelding's impressive career.

"Alf has given me and my family so much joy over the years, especially on the four occasions that we’ve competed together at Olympia, and in my eyes he’s more than earned his retirement," Laura said.

The award-winning horse will be honoured during the evening programme at Olympia on December 17th 2013. His and Laura's partnership over the last eight years has propelled the sport of dressage, thanks in part to their performance at London 2012. Their shows at Greenwich Park over the summer captured the imagination of the public and saw Team GB dominate the competition.