Olympic gold medallist Carl Hester described the success of the British dressage team yesterday as “a very special moment” for the sport on these shores.
Barnet-born Hester was part of the trio that claimed gold for Team GB in Greenwich Park riding Uthopia, a horse he part owns.
It was this victory which saw the number of British gold medals hit the magical 20 mark, surpassing the lauded total from Beijing four years ago.
However, for Hester and fellow riders Charlotte Dujardin and German-born Laura Bechtolsheimer, the significance of their success went much further than that.
The trio arrived in London as European champions but in order to claim the top prize here, they would have to wrestle the title away from Germany who had secured gold in this event for the last seven consecutive Olympic Games – a phenomenal record stretching all the way back to the Los Angeles Games of 1984.
And despite carrying good form from their victory at the European Championships, any medal for Team GB would have been a first. This year’s hosts had never previously claimed an Olympic medal of any colour in dressage.
But a hugely impressive performance from trio saw them onto the top step of the podium, and Hester moved to stress the significance of the achievement.
He explained: “It has been a very special moment for British dressage to get this medal because there has never been a medal, let alone a gold one in our sport before.
“So to get a gold one really rocked it for us and I think for all of our fans.
“I know the Olympics is about beating everybody, but Germany has dominated this sport for the last seven Olympics by winning gold, so it is doubly special to actually be able to beat them here as well.
“Not that we want to see any other nation crumble, but we did raise our hands and we quite enjoyed it.”