Hartpury’s incredible equestrian and rugby sevens success means that the college would currently be sitting 22nd in the Rio 2016 Olympics medals table – above South Africa, Greece, Poland and Ireland!
Hartpury’s sporting superstars have secured five medals during the Games in Brazil, including Charlotte Dujardin’s wonderhorse, Valegro, who uses the water treadmill at Hartpury’s Equine Therapy Centre for a workout at least once a week; more in the run-up to major competitions.
He and Charlotte also stole the show at July’s international Hartpury Festival of Dressage in their last competitive appearance ahead of the Olympics alongside their mentor and Hartpury Equine Academy dressage coach, Carl Hester. His Olympic horse, Nip Tuck, also uses Hartpury’s water treadmill, as has Irish rider, Jonty Evans, and his horse, Cooley Rorkes Drift, who finished ninth in the eventing at Rio 2016.
While Valegro and Charlotte secured an individual gold medal in the Rio 2016 dressage, they also won team silver. Carl was also a silver medallist with that team.
Another gold medal went to Hartpury thanks to BSc (Hons) Equine Management graduate and France eventing star, Astier Nicolas. A dressage score of 42 aboard Piaf de B’neville was held throughout a clear cross country and showjumping to ensure that he secured gold alongside his fellow countrymen in the team eventing.
The 27-year-old doubled his medal haul as his individual standing saw him safely into second position ahead of the jump off. Despite picking up six penalty points during his round, a final score of 48 was enough to see him pick up a silver medal behind double Olympic champion, Micheal Jung.
While Nick Burton (Hartpury’s former Equine Academy Director), worked closely with Astier during his time at Hartpury, current Director, Lizzel Winter, coaches the talented French rider now.
Hartpury’s other Rio 2016 medals have come from BSc Sports Conditioning and Coaching graduate, Dan Norton, and another former Hartpury RFC player, Ruaridh McConnochie. They were part of the Great Britain men’s rugby sevens side who took the silver medal behind a strong Fiji side.
Despite losing the final 43-7 to the pre-tournament favourites, Norton bagged tries in both the semi-final and final.
Hartpury Principal, Russell Marchant, said: “This outstanding Olympic success will only enhance Hartpury’s reputation as a place where talent is nurtured and athletes and riders are supported to reach their full potential.
“We could not be prouder of Carl, Charlotte, Dan and Ruaridh, and not forgetting Valegro and Nip Tuck of course, who we see so much of at Hartpury!
“Having produced more than 150 sporting internationals in the last 10 years, we’re no strangers to sporting success but to cheer on our former students and see them win Olympic medals is something truly special. I’m sure we’ll see many more students go on to achieve the highest accolade in their sport in the years to come, including at Tokyo 2020.”