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Olympic Equestrians  
 
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The USET recognized Seidel's role in the sport and beyond by awarding him the 2002 Whitney Stone Cup for "a distinguished record in international competition while also serving as an ambassador for the USET and equestrian sports."

Carl Hester

Carl Hester (b. 1967) grew up on the tiny Channel island of Sark, where there were no cars. Equines provided the transportation, and Hester got his start in the sport by riding on donkeys and ponies. Every summer, island residents gather for a horse show, for which Hester annually returns, to the delight of his grandmother, whom he calls his biggest fan.

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Hester quit school at the age of fifteen to work with horses. Jobs being scarce on Sark, he moved to England, taking a job in Hampshire at the Fortune Centre, an institution that allowed adults with physical or learning disabilities to experience the joy and satisfaction of being able to ride. While there, Hester began participating in major competitions, enjoying early success by winning the 1985 Young Dressage Rider Championship.

Hester moved on to spend some three and a half years working for Jannie and Christopher Taylor on their Gloucestershire farm. "[The Taylors] became my alternative family, and life with them was like a second, if eccentric, childhood," stated Hester, who also praised the couple as excellent teachers, saying, "It was during this time that I learnt the true basis of horsemanship, finding a way based on tact, patience, firmness, and kindness when dealing with horses with behavioral problems."

Hester's ongoing success in equestrian competitions drew the attention of Wilfried and Ursula Bechtolsheimer, who offered him a job riding for their stable in Germany. Hester declared himself "overawed" by the quality of their horses and their facilities.

During his three years with the Bechtolsheimers, Hester competed in European and World Championships and also made his first appearance in the Olympic Games. In 1992 he became the youngest rider ever to represent the United Kingdom.

Upon returning to England, Hester became a business partner at the stables of Kate Carter in Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire and later established his own yard at nearby Hartpury. He quickly developed a reputation as an outstanding trainer with a natural gift for teaching.

Hester competed on the British dressage teams at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics but met with disappointment in 2008, when both of his top horses had injuries during the season and so could not qualify.

Hester rode in the Olympic Games for the fourth time in 2012 in London. His outstanding performance was key to securing the gold medal in team dressage for Great Britain, to the elation of fans witnessing the victory in their home country.

In addition to competing, Hester has been a mentor to his young teammate on the 2012 gold medal-winning dressage team, Charlotte Dujardin, whom he discovered at a "talent-scouting" event. Dujardin expressed her appreciation of Hester's invaluable contribution to her athletic career, telling Pippa Cuckson of the London Daily Telegraph, "I owe everything to him, for being here, having wonderful horses and for this gold medal. Carl is very special to me: thank you."

A popular figure in the British horse world, Hester is much admired for the elegance of his riding style and respected as a first-rate trainer. In addition to giving lessons, he has co-authored several books and produced instructional videos to help others learn to excel at the sport he loves.

Blyth Tait and Paul O'Brien

New Zealander Blyth Tait (b. 1961) came by his love of horses naturally: his father bred race horses and encouraged his son's interest in equestrian sports.

Tait initially rode as a show jumper in the 1980s but then expanded his range of skills to become a three day eventer. He first rode for New Zealand in 1988, taking second place at an event in Australia. His continued success in international competition earned him the world number one ranking from 1992 to 1998.

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