Charlotte Dujardin sets new British freestyle dressage record

CharlotteDujardin.jpg

Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro have become the first British dressage partnership to break the 90% barrier in international competition, ahead of representing Britain at the London Olympics next month.

Performing her new freestyle at Hartpury CDI*** on Saturday evening, Charlotte scored 90.65% to shatter the previous British record of 87.6% set in April by Olympic team-mate Laura Bechtolsheimer.

The Tom Hunt-composed patriotic music score had the crowd captivated as Charlotte and Roly Luard and Carl Hester’s Valegro put in a mistake-free test. Pirouettes to the chimes of Big Ben and piaffe to the theme tune of ‘The Great Escape’ were among the highlights.

I am speechless,” said Charlotte after her test. “It was absolutely unbelievable.”

Four of the five judges awarded artistic marks of over 93%, including a 97% from Eduard De Wolff Van Westerorode (NED) at B, while Poland’s Wojteck Markowski awarded one of his highest ever scores from C.

British ‘O’ judge Andrew Gardner, who judged at M, said: “It was breath-taking. For a judge to be able to award a 10 for such a range of movements from piaffe to extended trot endorses the calibre of the talent that we have in front of us.”

Charlotte’s mentor and trainer Carl Hester was delighted. “They nailed it!” he said.

“All the practice at home has paid off and I feel we have a true Olympic calibre freestyle that the whole nation can be proud of. There’s a little bit more tweaking to be done, but roll on Greenwich — we’ll be ready!”

Read H&H’s full report from Hartpury in Thursday’s magazine, on sale 12 July, 2012