Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Greenwich Park, Greenwich, London
Date Started: August 2, 2012
Date Finished: August 7, 2012
Format: Three-rider teams. Team score is average of individual rider scores, overall score is average of Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special.
The last time the Olympic Games were in London the host nation did not enter a single rider into competition and in truth the British had barely registered their presence in the discipline ever since.
By 2012 the nation was in the position of having a "perfect storm" of three world class riders partnering three world class horses. Carl Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin had been clear winners of the 2011 European Championships ahead of Germany and the Netherlands and the three teams were to fill exactly the same positions of the podium in London.
Hester and Dujardin, produced three of the six scores of over 80% during the two rounds of the competition to ensure a first Olympic dressage title (or medal of any colour) for Great Britain. This was the time a German team had been defeated in Olympic competition since the Munich Games of 1972.
The roots of the British success go back to the 1980s and the arrival in the country of the German rider/trainer Dr. Wilfred Bechtolsheimer. The victorious British trio not only included his daughter Laura but also a former pupil in Carl Hester. Hester grew up on the tiny Channel Island of Sark, the only place in Europe where cars are still banned and horses are the staple form of transport. He in turn became tutor to Dujardin and was part-owner of Dujardin's winning mount.
Edward Gal of the Netherlands recovered from the loss of his world championship winning horse, Totilas, to become a member of the bronze medal winning Dutch team. Ironically one of the riders he edged out for a place on the team was his civil partner Hans Peter Minderhoud.