Dujardin wins gold with gelding Valegro in the Olympics 2012 freestyle dressage competition. In the moments after her daughter won the Olympic gold medal the second time around, Jane Dujardin remembered how she first bought her daughter a horse using the inheritance money from her grandmother. The horse was not the best, as she described, but fortunately, her daughter can “make a donkey do anything”.
Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, Gold Winner Olympics 2012 Freestyle Dressage Competition.Photo from nbcolympics.com
Several years later, the “donkey” was swapped for a dark bay gelding considered by some as the finest dressage horse in the world, and it appears to be natural that 27-year old Charlotte Dujardin triumphed in the Olympics 2012 not just as part of Team GB but also in the individual competition.
Colleagues described her as a true professional and this Gloucestershire-based riding started out riding at the age of two. With some encouragement from her trainer Debbie Thomas, Dujardin took up dressage and despite the usual reluctance of most beginners, she never looked back.
In 2011, she joined her first dressage competition, specifically the grand prix event and was part of the team that grabbed gold in a European dressage championship held in Rotterdam. She has set a world record earlier this year when she scored 88.022% at the Olympic grand prix special discipline with her horse, Valegro.
Valegro, with the stable name Blueberry, is considered as one of the world’s best dressage horses and both Dujardin and Valegro seem to almost have a telepathic relationship. Valegro is the “once-in-a-lifetime horse” as described by Dujardin. (For the record, Fernandez is Dujardin’s own horse, and she doesn’t have a poor performance with him either.)
Carl Hester co-owns Valegro and he asked Dujardin to develop the Dutch Warmblood gelding. Since the success at Rotterdam, Dujardin and Valegro became known to be a perfect combination. They were selected to represent Team GB at the Summer Olympics 2012 scoring 83.784% in the first round, a new Olympic record. The pair won gold in the individual dressage competition scoring 90.089%.
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