To watch Charlotte's test, fast forward to 3:07:13 on the video below
Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro comfortably won the Reem Acra FEI dressage grand prix at Jumping Amsterdam today (Friday 30 January) with 86.14%. The second placed combination — Danielle Heijkoop and Siro NOP from the Netherlands — were nearly 8% behind, despite posting a new personal best score.
This was Charlotte and Valegro’s first competition of 2015 and the test included a couple of little wobbles, most notably when Valegro anticipated the halt at X when he was supposed to piaffe. Charlotte glanced behind her, presumably to check whether he was doing droppings, before picking the 13-year-old gelding by Negro back up to complete the final passage.
Afterwards Charlotte was quick to place the blame for the mistakes at her own door. “I was really jet-lagged and I was terrible,” she said. “I was so angry with myself for the way I rode!”
However, all five judges had the British pair as their winners, with the high mark being 88.6% (from the British judge Stephen Clarke at C) and the low score 83.2% (from France’s Isabelle Judet at E). Overall, Charlotte and Valegro were awarded 21 maximum marks of 10.
At Olympia in December, Charlotte and Valegro broke both the grand prix and freestyle world records. Since then, Charlotte has been on holiday in New Zealand with her partner Dean Golding. Her trainer and mentor Carl Hester has been riding Valegro while she was away.
Charlotte explained she had only had a handful of rides on Valegro since Olympia. “He had a couple of weeks off over Christmas and then I started riding him for a couple of days before heading off (to New Zealand). I only had three days to ride after I got back this week, so he’s a pretty amazing horse!”
She was also quick to thank Carl for his efforts while she was away: “Carl kept Blueberry (Valegro) ticking over while I was away in New Zealand, I’m always so grateful to him.”