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London Olympics 2012

Laura Bechtolsheimer

Laura BechtolsheimerLaura BechtolsheimerLaura BechtolsheimerLaura BechtolsheimerLaura Bechtolsheimer

Laura Bechtolsheimer, born 31 January 1985 in Mainz, Germany is a British dressage rider competing at the Olympic level. As of 30 April 2011 the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) rank her 3rd in the world riding Mistral Hojris and 23rd on Andretti H. A granddaughter of the billionaire property magnate Karl-Heinz Kipp who founded the Massa chain of department stores, she was born in Mainz, Germany in 1985 to parents Wilfried, an entrepreneur and horse trainer, and Ursula. She has three brothers, Felix, a singer with rock group Hey Negrita who battled heroin addiction and now tours prisons helping others, Goetz, and Till. The family moved to Ampney St. Peter in Gloucestershire when she was one and she started riding aged three having been given a pony called Peacock for her birthday.

She went on to compete in Pony Club eventing and won the National Championships of Independent Schools at Stonar School at the age of 12. Bechtolsheimer started to concentrate on dressage when she was 13 and was selected to ride at the Pony European Championship the following season, winning a team silver medal at her first major competition. In 2005 she became the youngest British dressage champion at age 20, riding Douglas Dorsey. She graduated from Bristol University in 2007 with a BSc in Philosophy and Politics. She competed in the 2008 Olympic Games on Mistral Hojris, gaining 18th place in the Individual Grand Prix Special and 6th place in the team event and was named as British Dressage's Rider of the Year.

At the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games held in Kentucky USA Bechtolsheimer surpassed her personal best scores and gained three British International Grand Prix records with Mistral Hojris getting 82.511% in the Grand Prix, 81.708% in the Grand Prix Special and 85.350% in the Grand Prix Freestyle, gaining her three silver medals, being beaten only by the celebrated Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas. Outside of her dressage activities, she is a presenter for equine video website HorseHero.com and is considering a career in public relations and marketing.

Bechtolsheimer started riding when she was three years old but spent a large part of her early years hitting the floor rather than staying in the saddle. She was always a little more ambitious about jumping than her ponies! Finally she took over her brother’s 13.2 called Tom, on whom she enjoyed lots of success eventing. During her teens dressage began to replace her eventing dreams and at 14 she won a pony team silver medal at the Europeans. Since then she has been on a British championship team every year throughout juniors, young riders and then seniors - for the first time with Douglas Dorsey in 2006 at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen.

Ian Woodhead was her biggest influence from ponies on through to juniors. He taught her the basics of dressage and a healthy but fun competitive attitude. Her under 21 career continued with Markus Gribbe who trained her in the step up to Grand Prix. Bechtolsheimer's biggest successes and the start of very high scores came with the help of Klaus Balkenhol and the newly established partnership with her father who is now her trainer.

Although 2008 saw her through some serious ups and downs she learned much as a rider and as an individual. She kept her motivation and ambition and worked hard with her two Grand Prix horses, Mistral Hojris (Alf) and Andretti H (Andy). Bechtolsheimer has a great support crew at home and awesome horses to work with.

2009 was the breakthrough year for her and Alf. It started with a personal best and new British record in Den Bosch, Holland, where they also beat Anky van Grunsven on Painted Black for the first time and went on to score wins in Hagen, Germany, and then achieved a new personal best and British record in Lingen in Germany. 2010 started well with two more personal bests on Alf in Amsterdam in the Grand Prix and the Kur, finishing second behind Totilas. This was followed by two wins on Alf - beating Isabell Werth and Satchmo and a win and a second place on Andy at Lingen. Bechtolsheimer had a fantastic show at Aachen, where Alf was placed third behind Totilas and Parzival in the Grand Prix and the Special, and Andy won the CDI Kur. In addition Team GB finished third behind Holland and Germany so it was a great all round performance. All round 2010 was a truly fantastic year.

In 2011, Bechtolsheimer was ranked world number 2 and number 1 in Britain. She was also part of the histroic gold medal winning British team at the Europeans Champsionships, and took individual bronze too. 2012 is all about the Olympics and the dreams that go with that. Bechtolsheimer will be focusing on keeping perspective while working hard to make sure she and Alf can perform their very best at the right time.

More at: www.teamgb.com

source: www.wikipedia.org


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