EQUESTRIAN: Tomlinson's Mistral Hojris bows out at the top

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Laura Tomlinson and her beloved 'Alf' who has now been retired Laura Tomlinson and her beloved 'Alf' who has now been retired

IT WAS the end of an era at the London International Horse Show as Oaksey’s Laura Tomlinson officially retired her long-time partner Mistral Hojris on an emotionally-charged evening at Olympia in front of a packed house

Tomlinson and Mistral Hojris, better known as Alf, have enjoyed a spectacular eight-year association.

Having broken through on the international dressage circuit in 2005, they have been in the vanguard as Britain gradually became the dominant force in the sport.

Their medal haul began at the 2005 FEI European Championships for Juniors and Young Riders in Barzago in Italy, where they won team silver and individual bronze.

The pair’s most notable achievements, however, include team silver and individual bronze at the FEI Europeans at Windsor in 2009; three silver medals at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky; team gold and individual bronze at the 2011 FEI Europeans in Rotterdam; and most recently, team gold and individual bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Laura, who owns the 18-year-old gelding with her parents, Wilfried and Ursula Bechtolsheimer, said: "Alf has given me and my family so much joy over the years, especially on the four occasions that we’ve competed together at Olympia, and in my eyes he’s more than earned his retirement."

Laura said Alf will now stay in light work at home with plenty of hacking.

Meanwhile, Charlotte Dujardin, Laura’s Olympic gold-medal-winning team-mate, completed a hat-trick of world records as she won the London stage of the dressage World Cup at Olympia.

Partnering Valegro, with whom she won double gold at London 2012, the 28-year-old now hold the records in all three elements of her sport having scored 93.975% in the Grand Prix freestyle.

Lyneham’s Jessica Mendoza riding Spirit T finished on the fastest time (39.12 sec) but had the penultimate fence down, to finish third in the Dodson & Horrell and World Class Programme U23 Championships at Olympia’s International Horse Show.

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