Horse & Hound
Flexibility for life with Team Hester
The team at NAF visit Carl Hester’s yard to find out how he keeps his horses performing at their best
OAKELBROOK MILL is a hub of activity, with riders and horses quietly training while the dogs, peacocks and chickens happily go about their business. While NAF catches up with Carl Hester and Alan Davies, Valegro and Uthopia can be found relaxed in their stables right outside the main yard entrance.
“Valegro and Uthopia really enjoy the comfort of living next to each other,” explains Carl. Now aged 18 and 19 respectively, the horses are enjoying a quieter pace of life. But this multiple gold medal-winning duo aren’t hanging up their dancing shoes just yet, nor do they need to.
“Uti still has it all,” says Carl of the famous black stallion. “He comes out to give my students experience of the grand prix movements, he still stands at stud and I also like to ride him myself, so there are no signs of slowing down.”
“Blueberry is the same,” explains Carl of the world record-breaking Valegro – known as Blueberry at home. “He is still ridden regularly, mainly hacking out, and he is still making appearances around the world since his retirement, showing off what he’s famous for to his adoring fans.”
BLUEBERRY and Uti are both fed NAF Five Star Superflex Senior to support them in their older years. The results speak for themselves, but that doesn’t mean it’s just for the older horses on the yard.
“We feed Superflex Senior particularly to those working at the more advanced levels to give their joints as much support as possible. This includes Carl’s exciting new ride En Vogue, and all the other horses here that perform at higher levels,” comments head groom Alan Davies.
Carl and En Vogue’s recent grand prix debut stands testament to the nutritional support required for the hard-working dressage horse. Aged just 11, En Vogue picked up a score of just under 78% with a number of 10s, including for his pirouettes.
Carl adds: “Vogue is a big, talented horse, well over 17.2hh. That’s why it’s so important that we have this relationship with NAF. I can trust that the experts will know exactly what my horses need, while adhering to
Clean Sport protocols.
“You can see how amazing our horses are looking, from the muscle coverage and the shine in their coats to their recent performances.”
Alan concurs: “The horses have been looking and feeling so well in the past eight months of working with NAF.
“The riders, including Carl and Charlotte, will often tell me how a horse feels after riding; this, for me, is a great gauge to know that the horses are getting exactly what they need. But one thing is a constant and that’s feeding them Five Star Superflex Senior.”
“We use Superflex Senior to give their
joints as much support as possible”