Interview Charlotte Dujardin – “It is hard to handle the thought of Valegro being up for sale…”

04. Feb 13 | 6:22 | By | Category: INTERNATIONAL NEWS, interviews

4.2.2013

We certainly not have to introduce Charlotte Dujardin. She is for sure the most successful dressage rider at the moment after winning two gold medals at the London Olympics 2012. Charlotte´s star rose incredibly fast after catching the public eye first time in 2011 at the European Championships in Rotterdam where the young team Charlotte and her KWPN gelding Valegro won the gold medal with the British team.

Today Valegro is said to be the best dressage horse in the world – and leads most people to forget the legendary Totilas.

But as we all know Valegro is for sale. Everybody hopes that the unbelievably talented team Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro will be partners forever nevertheless.

How the rider herself handles this difficult situation, what she loves about Valegro and how it´s like to be an Olympic Champion Charlotte told me in an exclusive interview…

 

It´s now six months since you got your gold medal at the London Olympics. How long did it take until you actually realized you are the Olympic Champion?

To be honest it was wasn’t that long, we had a lot of press to do after winning so it came up a lot, and the Team had a lovely Party on a boat on the Thames the night after we won the Team Gold, so all our close friends were there to celebrate with us!

 

Can you please tell our readers how you experienced the days in London? Did you ever anticipate getting two gold medals?

Our days in London were kept fairly busy, we had to exercise the horses between our Competition days. The Dressage was spaced out over the 2 weeks, so we got watch all the other disciplines compete which was great fun.

I had dreamed of winning a medal, and deep down I knew as a team we could get gold, but to win individual gold as well was just incredible.

 

The team gold was a historic triumph – what did it change for British dressage?

Well it put Dressage out there in the public eye, so many people now have an idea of what it is, and that can only be good for our sport.

 

What did the two gold medals change in your life?

It has given me some amazing opportunities, I have met some of the Royal family, I have been awarded an OBE recently which is a huge honour. Though I am still doing my day to day life and training horses for the future!

 

Looking back at the London Olympics – can you – like many experts – also say this were the best games ever? How did you feel competing in your own country?

It was amazing Olympics and competing in a home games was like nothing I will ever experience again I´m sure. The noise from the crowds was just incredible, 22,000 people screaming and cheering is something you just can´t imagine ever seeing at a Dressage event.

 

What do you think are the reasons for your stunning success? Is it mostly training with Carl (Hester)?

Hard work and desire to succeed! I do owe a huge amount to Carl, of course without him I would never have been given the opportunity to produce and compete with Valegro, and train with Carl. Something I will always be grateful for.

 

We all know Valegro is for sale. But we heard the plan is to keep Valegro for you. What is the situation now? How do you handle the fact he could be sold and lost for you?

I honestly don´t know, it is in Carl and Roly’s hands as to what happens with him, obviously I would love to be able to keep the ride, as he has been the horse of my life. It is hard to handle the thought of him being up for sale, but I do understand the situation the owners are in.

 

What is so special about Valegro? What makes him the perfect horse he is?

So many reasons that make him the perfect Dressage horse really, the main one is his brain, he just wants to please and do his best always.

He seems to know when he gets in the arena that people love watching him, he really loves performing in front of a crowd!

Can you please tell our readers a bit about you: How and when did you start riding? How come you went to Carl´s place?

I started riding when I was very young, doing Lead Rein Ponys in showing with my mum. I then grew up doing Show Ponies and was very successful in that but then found I needed something more. I had a sit on a friends Dressage horse and liked it, so met a Dressage Coach local to me and started from there.

I went to Carls after he had seen me ride Fernandez as a 4 year old at a sort of talent spotting day for young horses. I went for a few lessons at Carls and then one day he asked to do 10 days cover while one of his grooms was away, and I never left from that day!

 

What is the fascination of horses for you in a few words?

Their power, their grace, and how they let us guide them.

 

What plans do you have now for the next months?

I am busy training horses and teaching. I’m riding Valegro and others at Carls as normal. I would like to take a holiday though!

 

When you are not riding what do you like to do?

I do ride a lot so don´t get much time for a hobby, though I do like to go shopping when I get a chance! I go to the gym a few evenings of the week as well.

 

Do you have a philosophy in life?

Enjoy each moment that you can.

 

If you had one wish fulfilled – what would it be?

Well I have been very fortunate to fulfil it, Gold! I guess I need to think up a new one, I will have to get back to you on that!

 

Interview: Alexandra Koch


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