This past weekend Charlotte and Valegro won the Grand Prix Freestyle class at Hartpury (Gloucestershire UK). That they won is no surprise to those who follow dressage – Valegro and Charlotte Dujardin haven’t lost a competition since 2012.
What was a bit of a surprise at Hartpury was that they competed with their new Rio-themed music, the same tune they’ll ride for the Olympics next month.
Charlotte and Valegro epitomize teamwork. Their partnership has garnered every world championship, rightfully so, they hold the world records in Grand Prix (87.46%) and Grand Prix Freestyle (94.3%).
I feel a particular affinity with this team, particularly after I learned the following…
When Valegro is at home, several days a week he gets a break from training and hacks along the countryside. By Charlotte? No. His rider is Tricia Gardiner age 77 (member of Britain’s 1988 Olympic dressage team).
“Tricia finds it hard to walk and get on a horse now,” says Charlotte. “She literally drags Blueberry (Valegro’s nickname at home inspired by his “plump” physic) to the highest mounting block she can find and makes him stand in a position which is good for her to climb on from, faffs around a bit and drags herself up — you would honestly look at him and think he was a bog-standard, happy hacker. He then goes up the road with her, eating his way through any hedge he can find — she really needs some grass reins to keep him on the straight and narrow! It’s hilarious to watch”.
Love it! Yea, Women of Age Riding … Blueberries!