May 29, 2016 – Carl Hester’s attempt to purchase his Olympic team gold medal partner, Uthopia, at auction was unsuccessful, and the horse was sold to an outside buyer. The identity of the buyer has not been publicly released.
Uthopia, a 15-year-old licensed KWPN stallion (Metall-Odelia, Inspekteur), was sold at live auction May 27 for £165,000, or just over $241,000. While he was not physically present at the auction, conducted by Wilsons Auctions, live bidding in person, online and via phone was available. Uthopia was sold by Tom Keenan of Keenan Corporate Finance and James Neill of HNH Group, who had joint ownership of him due to their roles as trustees in bankruptcy over the two separate bankruptcy estates of Sasha Stewart and her father Derek Harrison.
When news of the sale broke, Hester indicated that he hoped to purchase the stallion with help from supporters. He explained in a Facebook post following the auction that he was not able to do so.
“I am so grateful for all the support from all over the world regarding Uthopia,” he wrote. “Sadly, we couldn’t secure him with our investors. We are still hopeful and are working on a positive outcome.”
Uthopia is best known for contributing to the British team’s gold medal finish at the 2012 London Olympic Games with Hester in the saddle. Hester and Uthopia were key members of the gold medal team at the 2011 European Championships, where they won two individual silver medals, and the bronze medal team at the 2013 European Championships. Charlotte Dujardin has also competed the stallion over the past few years and rode him in his most recent start, the Amsterdam CDI-W, Jan. 29-30, 2016.