Home comforts could do the trick for Hester
BRITISH dressage rider Carl Hester is determined to make the most of home comforts at London 2012.
HOME SWEET HOME: Carl Hester is hoping that Greenwich Park will be kind to him and his 2012 Olympic hopes
As warm ups for the Olympics go, Hester couldn't have asked for a much better 2011, the highlight coming in Rotterdam at August's European Dressage Championships.
It was a case of so close yet so far in both individual events as the 44-year-old came away with two silvers, but he recorded the highest score of Great Britain's quartet as they claimed team gold.
Hester, riding Uthopia, was joined by Emile Faurie, Charlotte Dujardin and Laura Bechtolsheimer as the squad broke the Championship record with a new score of 238.595 per cent.
Those displays were enough to see Hester crowned Team GB's equestrian athlete of the year today.
And with London 2012 fast approaching, Hester will be hoping that his good form continues into the new year as he looks to turn his Olympic fortunes around following his Beijing disappointment where both his qualified horses had to withdraw through injury.
It was a case of happier times in Athens in 2004 as Hester and horse Escapado were Britain's highest-placed combination, and he is hoping some familiar surroundings can propel him to new heights next year.
"Normally we are flying around the world to do championships, or we are travelling 24 or 48 hours in lorries with horses, and they don't arrive at a competitions with an advantage when doing that," he said.
"The horses will be fresh for London 2012 and we won't have to go in there until the last minute, so in actual fact I look at it as an advantage.
"The horses are going amazingly at the moment, it's just fingers crossed as usual that the horses stay fit and sound.
"As a sports person who has been up and down to the top for the last 20 years I have realised what being involved in sport can do for people
"I didn't come from a horsey family, I was enthused by other people so it's given me a life and something to dedicate something to and I hope to do the same next year."
© Sportsbeat 2011