Caen, France—Aug. 29
She holds multiple world records, and she’s won Olympic gold, European Championships gold, the FEI World Cup Final, and now two individual World Games gold medals. What’s next for Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro?
“Retiring is definitely in mind,” joked Dujardin, who captured her second individual gold medal at these Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in the Grand Prix freestyle today on 92.16 percent. “I feel like what I’ve achieved with Valegro is more than I’ve ever dreamed of doing, but the challenge is to recreate and do it again on some other younger horses. I love training young horses and getting to Grand Prix. Hopefully I can maybe do it all again.”
Dujardin introduced Valegro’s new freestyle music at this year’s Reem Acra FEI World Dressage Final (France), and it’s from How to Train Your Dragon, as was her extremely popular music from the 2012 London Olympic Games. The judges were unanimous in their adoration of it today, with five giving her a 10 and two a 9.5.
“After that Olympic music it was quite demanding to make another freestyle as good as that. That for me was such good music, and it meant a lot to me,” said Dujardin, who also earned team silver with Great Britain this week. “We tried to recreate something that showed his highlights and had a good degree of difficulty. The piaffe pirouettes were something I played with at home, and I said to Carl [Hester], ‘Do you think I could stick it in and have a go?’ ”
Dujardin admitted Valegro, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Negro—Maifleur, Gerschwin) owned by Hester and Roly Luard, felt a bit tired for this test. But even with her past successes, pressure isn’t weighing on her mind when she enters at C.
“I just go out there and have fun,” she said. “I don’t really think about pressure. If you do that it takes over, and I think riding a horse like Valegro, he gives you so much confidence anyway. It’s just about going in there, and all you can do is your very best—that’s all I try to do.
“It’s not always about gold,” she added. “He has a heart of gold, and he went in there and gave me everything he had left. As a rider, win or lose, that means the most to me.”
Helen Langehanenberg repeated a silver medal performance with Damon Hill NRW, and Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival moved up for bronze. Langehanenberg’s 88.28 percent wasn’t a personal best for “Dami,” but she said the horse continually improves and relishes the job.
“He can speak and read, and he’s something else, that horse,” said Germany’s Langehanenberg. “You think, ‘Wow,’ and ‘how perfect,’ but then he can be even better. He has perfect gaits, and his mind is perfect. If he were a dog he would sit beside us on the sofa. He’s absolutely honest, and he’s the best.”
Though Dujardin quipped about retirement for herself, the Netherlands’ Cornelissen isn’t doing the same regarding her 17-year-old partner.
“He feels 7,” she said. “He keeps doing it over and over again. As long as he keeps on going, as long as he loves the game, we’ll keep doing it.”
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