The British Olympic Association (BOA) today selected the Dressage and Jumping riders to be part of Team GB for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. This completes the Equestrian team for the Games.

Dressage Team:
Laura Bechtolsheimer riding her own and Dr Wilfried Bechtolsheimer’s Mistral Hojris,
Jane Gregory (nee Bredin) riding Greenlands Farm Ltd’s Lucky Star
Emma Hindle riding her own Lancet

Jumping Team:
Ben Maher riding Mr Daniel Paul’s Rolette
Tim Stockdale riding Mr John Bosher’s Fresh Direct Corlato
Michael Whitaker riding Gillespie Equestrian’s Suncal Portofino 63
John Whitaker riding Miss Rebecca Stones’ Peppermill

Commenting on their selection the athletes said:

Laura Bechtolsheimer:
“It’s very exciting, our whole season has been focused on selection but to have it confirmed still feels surreal, it hasn’t sunk in. Mistral Hojris is very special and I feel privileged to have a horse like him to take to my first Olympics. We have come a long way together and I feel confident that he will give it everything.”

Jane Gregory:
“I am in a state of shock! My goal this year has been to improve my riding and my training; we’ve been enjoying our international success so much and never dared to hope we would be in contention for an Olympic team position. I have ridden Lucky Star since he was 4 years old, he is an extraordinary horse and we are both preparing to give this all we’ve got.”

Emma Hindle:
“I am thrilled to be selected again to represent Great Britain. I have a great horse in Lancet and I am confident that we should be able to perform well in Hong Kong.”

Ben Maher:
“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I can’t quite believe that I’m going! Ten months ago my horse Rolette was jumping 1.40m National classes and I was having the worst year ever, however when she won the Maastricht and Mechelen Grand Prix’s at the end of last year I knew I had a good horse. She’s going from strength to strength and I believe her best is yet to come. To ride at the Olympic Games is everyone’s dream – I feel incredibly lucky.”

Tim Stockdale:
“I am over the moon! My mare Corlato has gone fantastically well and she deserves the opportunity to jump at the Olympic Games. It is great for everyone concerned; my Team at home, my owners and sponsors, who have all had belief in me. The Olympic Games is everything I have worked for and a huge honour. I am a very lucky man to have such a fantastic horse to ride”.

Michael Whitaker:
“It is a great honour to be selected for my fifth Olympic Games. We have a great Team and I am very lucky to be riding such a great horse as Portofino 63.”

John Whitaker:
“I am very pleased to be selected, Beijing will be the sixth Olympics I have been to. I think we have a good Team with a good chance of success and I have a good horse in Peppermill.”

Simon Clegg, 2008 Team GB Chef de Mission said:
“I am very pleased to welcome the remaining equestrian members of Team GB on board. The mix of new and more established names makes this an exciting team to look out for in Hong Kong. All of the riders have done well to qualify and I wish them all the best in their final preparations before the Olympic Games.”

Will Connell, British Equestrian Team Leader comments:
“The Jumping Team is truly a team of youth and experience. John and Michael bring to the Team stability based on their many years at the top of the sport; Tim, who has achieved so much, deserves his first shot at an Olympics and Ben has landed some excellent results over the last few months to demonstrate he is ready for his first Senior Championship Team appearance.

For the Dressage riders the road to selection has seen some challenges for all the athletes but Laura, Emma and Jane rightly deserve their shot at the Olympics. All have represented Great Britain before but this will be Laura's first Olympics. They know what they need to do to bring home a medal and I know they are focused, determined and ready for the challenge ahead.

Nick Skelton, as travelling reserve, will bring with him a huge amount of knowledge to the Jumping Team and will be instrumental in helping them perform to their optimum.

I wish them all the best of luck in Hong Kong, as ever we are grateful to the Owners, without whom there would be no Team.”

The selectors also named a travelling reserve for the Jumping Team, this will be Nick Skelton and Lisa Hales’ Russel. A Travelling reserve for the Dressage Team will be announced in due course.

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