Physical Education/PSHE KS2 & KS3: How Carl Hester became an Olympic gold medallist in dressage

The story of how Carl Hester, who grew up on a tiny island, was inspired to become a top horseman and Olympic gold medallist in dressage at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Carl recalls the key events and experiences that made him a top equestrian today.

We also learn about the meaning and history of dressage.

With animation, family photos and Olympic footage to illustrate his journey to gold, Carl tells us about his life as a child growing up on the tiny Island of Sark in the Channel Islands.

There were only 22 people in his whole school and their after-school entertainment was selling 10p donkey rides to tourists on the beach.

Carl always loved riding, but could not imagine how to enter the elite world of a top training school until his grandmother – a huge influence in his life – told him he must go to England and follow his dream.

Years of failure preceded great success and, as he explains, there were no short cuts. Carl reflects on how the horses are judged and how it felt to finally realise his goals.

This clip is from the series Olympic Spark: Fire Up Your Future.

Teacher Notes

Before watching the clip, students could discuss what they think horse dressage is.

Do students think horse-riding is a sport? What does it involve and where did it originate from?

After the clip, students could recall and discuss some of the terms they heard such as ‘grand prix’, ‘canter’ and ‘trot’.

Curriculum Notes

This clip is suitable for teaching Physical Education and PSHE at KS2 and KS3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and and 2nd, 3rd and 4th Level in Scotland.

More from Olympic Spark: Fire Up Your Future

How Christine Ohuruogu became a top athlete
How Etienne Stott was inspired to become a top canoeist
How Gemma Gibbons became an Olympic medal winner in judo
How Katherine Grainger was inspired to become an Olympic rower
How Sam Oldham was inspired to become an Olympic gymnast
How Samantha Murray became a silver medal-winning pentathlete