A feast of dressage competitions and pre-WEG preparation

Here is a feast of dressage from the British National Championships '10. The competition preceded the World Equestrian Games, so the videos also offer an insight into GB riders' preparation for WEG. Watch top British rider Laura Bechtolseheimer working Andretti (her second string) at home with Klaus Balkenhol and then winning the National Champion title a few days later. Be a fly-on-the-wall of her last training session with Mistral Hojris before leaving for WEG, where Laura made British history and won three silver medals! We also interviewed her at home about WEG. We filmed fellow WEG team silver medallists, Carl Hester and Maria Eilberg at the Nationals as well, and team captain Richard Davison who was riding in the Kur. (Plus there are links at the bottom of the page to the last two year's of National Championships videos!)

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Laura Bechtolsheimer & Andretti prepare for the Nationals '10
Andretti is currently number two in Britain and Laura's reserve for WEG. Just a few days before the Dressage National Champs' 2010, Laura has a session with world renowned German trainer Klaus Balkenhol. Dr B, Laura's father and regular coach, narrates. The 15 year old TB Andy has matured and made huge improvement in the contact in the two years he has been with Laura, enabling him to show off all of his considerable talent. Dr B says there is not much to do after half an hour as he is good in all moves. Their main job is to keep him happy through variety in his work. (A further video of Andy competing at the Nationals, will follow.)

Laura Bechtolsheimer, National Dressage Champion 2010
World number three, Laura Bechtolsheimer talks to Fiona Price about the difference between riding at the Nationals and at an international competition. 15 year old thoroughbred Andy, Laura's second string, won the Grand Prix the day before by a large margin. Laura talks about the difference between her warmblood Alf (her WEG ride in a couple of weeks) and Andy. She also explains how she has won Andy over, as when she got him two years ago as a mature horse, he was not the easiest. We observe Laura's warm-up, watch her full Kur and Fiona gets a reaction afterwards. Despite Laura's concerns, she takes the title on an impressive 78.55%!

Carl Hester's pre WEG '10 interview
Carl Hester has been at the top of British Dressage for 20 years, having won 51 national titles including National Champion 6 times and represented GB on many occasions. He talks to Fiona Price at the National Dressage Champs '10, about competing at the World Equestrian Games in a few weeks time. He explains why his selection came late in the day with his European Champs' silver medal partner Leibling, how he keeps motivated, whether he has any plans for retirement after the Games and how he will be preparing mentally for the big day. We watch him riding Des, a horse on which he later gives a masterclass.

Laura Bechtolsheimer's pre WEG 2010 interview

Laura Bechtolsheimer, world number three dressage rider, talks to Fiona Price about her year to date and preparation for the World Equestrian Games (WEG) 2010. Having been laid off at the beginning of the season, Laura had two fabulous shows at Lingen and Aachen. She tells Fiona that building up to peak performance for WEG is like preparing for any other big show. Laura talks about Alf's journey to Kentucky, her psychological preparation and says that her partnership with Alf has matured and their work is now solid. Alf has even got over his dislike of clapping! Alf has as much to say in this interview as Laura!

Laura & Alf prepare for WEG '10 with Klaus Balkenhol

Top British dressage rider Laura Bechtolsheimer has a final training session with Klaus Balkenhol, before the World Equestrian Games '10. Her father and co-trainer Dr B narrates. Fiona Price talks to Klaus and Dr B about Alf's physical and mental preparation for the Games, the long trip to Kentucky and what happens when he arrives. They also explain Alf's routine on the day of the test. As we watch Laura work, Dr B says keeping Alf happy is the main focus. He is so good in all moves that he is worked in short bursts only, with plenty of variety and frequent breaks. Alf's work in this session merits 10s in the transitions, passage and piaffe, according to Klaus!

Maria Eilberg's final WEG preparation, Nat' Champs 2010

GB team rider Maria Eilberg and Two Sox (Ed) use the National Champs '10 as their final practise for WEG. Ed has gone from strength to strength and Maria tells Fiona Price what's at the heart of the Eilberg training philosophy. As part of the silver medal team at the Euro's '09, Maria has plenty of experience. Nonetheless, father and trainer Ferdi doesn't mince his words in the warm-up. He tells Maria to "practise commitment to power in the test" and to "gain respect outside so the horse is in attendance in the arena!". Ferdi and team captain Richard Davison narrate Maria's practise test and Maria tells Fiona what's left to work on before the Games, when she finishes.

Fiona Price has a jumping lesson with Shane Breen Richard Davison & Artemis contest the Kur, Nationals 2010

Horse Hero's Fiona Price is game for most things and a lesson on a Grade A show jumping horse was definitely on her list! However, Lulu proved a bit more of a challenge than she expected! With the help of show jumper, Shane Breen, the first aim was to overcome Lulu's spooky nature. Then, using canter poles, Shane works with Fiona to shorten and lengthen the stride. A clever grid succeeds in getting Lulu's exuberance under control and allowing Fiona to do some jumping! "A tight turn into a line of fences stops horses from racing and chasing", says Shane, who insists Fiona gets control the landing stride to make the distance.

Fiona Price has a jumping lesson with Shane Breen British National Dressage Champs '09

Click here to view the collection of videos we made at the British National Dressage Champs '09.

Still basking in medal glory from the European Championships, the British Nationals was an exciting event. Team medallists dominated but Horse Hero captured lovely stories of top riders in the Kur.

Fiona Price has a jumping lesson with Shane Breen National Dressage Championships '08

Click here to view the collection of videos we made at the British National Dressage Champs '08.

Interviews with leading competitors, footage of their warmups, their tests and their reaction to their performances. Competition coverage, but not as you have seen it before!

Fiona Price has a jumping lesson with Shane Breen World Dressage Masters, Hickstead '09

Click here to view the collection of videos we made at the World Dressage Masters, Hickstead '09.

Extraordinary coverage of the competition including Edward Gal's first world record in the Kur. Horse Hero followed Dutch superstars throughout the competition plus some of the British riders!


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