Trio claim historic gold

  • Last Updated: August 7 2012, 19:19 BST

Great Britain ended Germany's Olympic dominance in the dressage by taking the gold medal at Greenwich Park.

Charlotte Dujardin: bettered her training partner's record

Hot on the heels of their counterparts triumphing in the showjumping, the trio of Carl Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin made history by claiming Britain's first Olympic dressage medal.

The victory also took Team GB's overall gold-medal tally to 20 - surpassing their efforts in Beijing four years ago and making it their most successful Games since 1908.

Having held a lead going into the grand prix special - the second part of the team test - Hester gave them the perfect start when Hester broke Dutch star Anky van Grunsven's Olympic record on Uthopia.

That mark did not stand for long, however, as training partner Dujardin bettered his score just 90 minutes later. With Bechtolsheimer delivering a solid performance in between, they finished with a score of 79.97 per cent.

Dujardin was already the world grand prix special record holder, she set the that mark in Germany in April, an amazing achievement for someone who only rode in her first significant competition in January of last year.

"I was a bit more nervous today going in because I just wanted that gold medal," the 26-year-old said.

"I didn't want to let anyone down, and I like that test, so I knew I could do well in it.

"I had a flip I think in the one tempo change and my left pirouette didn't feel very good, but apart from that it felt pretty good.

"It's surreal because obviously I only started in January last year and I got a gold medal at the Europeans, and it was the ultimate dream to get here and ride here."

Dujardin, who is coached by Hester at his Gloucestershire yard, is favourite for Thursday's individual freestyle final, and her latest performance did nothing to dispute those odds.

For Hester, who has experienced some tough times on the international stage, the triumph was one to savour.

And it was the culmination of a dream that started when he rode a donkey on the Channel Island of Sark, his birthplace.

"The three of us come from three totally different backgrounds,'' he said.

"It is amazing that I learnt to balance and ride on a bareback donkey, Charlotte came through the showing world and Laura did everything across all the equestrian disciplines before she took up dressage.

"You don't know when the dream is going to come true, but we've got our dream now. It is the best thing that could happen to our sport.

"My parents aren't horsey - they can't stand horses, actually - so that makes it even more ridiculous that I've ended up on this route.

"Of course you have to have the opportunity and the break, and you have to find your way, but the hard work and dedication has paid off for all three of us in a very different route."

Germany had previously won every Olympic team gold in dressage since 1976, with the exception of the boycott year in 1980.

However, they only just ended up with the silver this time around, holding off the determined challenge of the Netherlands to take second place on the podium.