In March 2013, double Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin took on the ride on her trainer and mentor Carl Hester’s team hero Uthopia. Here, Charlotte tells us about the stallion’s fortes, foibles and flirtations.
“I first saw Uthopia competing as a four-year-old at Hickstead. I was pretty blown away by what I saw. He’s a very loose and elastic horse with an amazing canter. His party piece is his extended trots. He gets 10s for those.
“He last disgraced himself at Rotterdam in the [grand prix] special. He decided to do his own counting [in the flying changes]. He did no twos, he did his own ones. Then when I wanted ones, I did 18 ones. On the centre line I meant to do nine and I ended up doing about 12 and I’m thinking ‘I’ve got to do a pirouette to the right yet!’ so he had a great time.
“He likes to travel with Valegro. That’s who he travels the most with and they’ve become best buddies.”
Uthopia’s groom Alan Davies agrees: “He’ll stand next to anyone and there’s never any squealing. He likes to chit-chat with Valegro. At home there are bars between the stalls so the horses can chat. He’s always been treated like a normal horse.”
Charlotte continues: “He last got loose at the Europeans a couple of years ago and had a nice chat with Nadine in the stable block. He thought that was very exciting, but he doesn’t get away too often.
“But when you take him to the field Uthopia loves to have a good rear. You’ll get him down to the gate and he’s up on his hind legs. He just gets very very excited so you have to hold on tight!
“The one thing Uthopia couldn’t live without would be Alan Davies, his groom. Uthopia is Alan’s very special pet and his absolute favourite of the lot.”
To read a full interview with Charlotte, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine — out 11 July.