The double Olympic champion Valegro will not compete again and will be retired this year, his part-owner Carl Hester has confirmed to Horse & Hound.
He will take part in a retirement ceremony at Olympia Horse Show in London at the end of the year (13-19 December), and will not contest any more shows competitively.
“We have decided that Valegro will retire from competition at Olympia this year,” Carl told H&H. “The old, energetic Valegro is back and this is how we want people to remember him. Charlotte doesn’t need to be judged on him again. They have nothing more to prove.”
Carl — who co-owns the horse with Roly Luard and Anne Barrott — details more of the reasons they have taken this momentous decision in his exclusive column in H&H magazine this Thursday.
Although Valegro is retiring from competition, he will still be ridden and still be seen in public.
Carl has been inundated with requests for the 14-year-old gelding to appear; he is off to Central Park tomorrow (Sunday, 18 September) to do a demo under Charlotte.
The organisers of Badminton Horse Trials have also requested that he appear, pointing out that he already did so as a young horse and that the eventing community is as keen to see him as the fans of straight dressage.
Showcasing under a new jockey?
Valegro (AKA Blueberry) may have been ridden by only Charlotte publicly for a number of years now, but Carl himself may pick up the reins on some occasions.
“Charlotte was busy here [at the national championships at Stoneleigh] so I rode him yesterday and had a lovely time,” said Carl. “If Charlotte’s OK with it, then I might ride him [at events] sometimes in future.”
At the Rio Olympics, Charlotte and Valegro successfully defended their individual freestyle gold title, logging a new Olympic record score of 93.857% in the process.
The pair have won 49 of their 61 international grand prix starts, a stunning record of success.
Carl started the horse himself and rode him to four-year-old glory at the national championships.
To read Carl’s comment, pick up a copy of Horse & Hound magazine on Thursday, 22 September.