Dressage rider Spencer Wilton
SPENCER Wilton will have to go some next year if he is to match his achievements of 2016.
The Brimpton rider enjoyed a fantastic year, culminating in a silver-medal success as part of the Great Britain dressage team at the Rio Olympics.
Since then, Wilton has kept busy teaching and working, and he maintained his fine form at a World Cup qualifier in Stuttgart at the beginning of November.
The 43-year-old had to sweat before he and his horse Super Nova II were finally selected for the Olympic team, alongside Carl Hester, Charlotte Dujardin and Fiona Bigwood.
And they lived up to the hype by coming away with a silver, behind eventual winners Germany.
Wilton said: “I went to Rio with not very high expectations, and I ended up personally doing better than I was expected to do.
“My main focus before was getting in the team, but once I was selected it was all about if we could get a medal.
“I was lucky enough to have such a strong team alongside me.
“It would have been a different story if we had come back without a medal.
“Everyone said that it would be an anti-climax after the Olympics, but I have had so many things to do and people have been so positive that I didn’t find that. ”
Wilton again proved his prowess in the qualifier in Stuttgart.
He said: “We had a fantastic show to finish third with very good marks and form in a very competitive field.
“I think perhaps after the Olympics both myself and Super Nova have grown in confidence.
“It feels like we are more used to big crowds and big arenas since Rio.”
Wilton will now be turning his attention towards qualifying for the European Championships in Gothenburg at the end of August.
His first international show will be in Doha, Qatar, at the beginning of March, and that will count towards the selection criteria for the Euros.
Then it’s back to Europe for a series of qualifiers before selection for Gothenburg takes place.
Wilton was in London at the Olympia Horse Show before Christmas.
Although he wasn’t competing, he and the rest of the dressage team received a Medal of Honour from the British Equestrian Federation for their efforts in Rio.
And all the medal winners from the Olympics and Paralympics then took part in a parade of honour at the stadium.
He said: “It always seems more Christmassy in London and it was very busy and a lot of fun at Olympia.”
Now Wilton will set his sights on more dressage glory with Super Nova II in 2017.