As part of our 130th birthday celebrations, H&H commissioned renowned sporting artist Daniel Crane to paint Britain’s greatest living horse to grace our cover.

After a public vote Charlotte Dujardin’s Olympic gold medal-winning partner Valegro was crowned champion.

Daniel went to meet Blueberry at Carl Hester’s base in Gloucestershire to take photographs and draw matchstick sketches to work from at home.

“My first impression of meeting Blueberry was what a really nice person he was,” Daniel said.

“I wasn’t expecting him to be so laid-back and chilled.  He posed in exactly the way I wanted him to. We are so used to seeing him with Charlotte on top that I thought it would be fun to paint him stripped bare.”

Daniel has admitted that Valegro’s build was a little different to his usual subjects — hunters and racehorses.

“I am used to painting a horse that can sustain a gallop or jump. Because he is doing neither, his muscles are in a different place and the highlights are different. I had to make sure that he didn’t look like he is about to jump around Cheltenham.”

After working for 12hr a day on the painting, Daniel finished the piece last Friday (11 April).

“It has been a challenge,” Daniel said. “Particularly as H&H readers are knowledgeable.”

H&H VIP members can watch our video of Daniel meeting Valegro at Carl Hester’s yard. A free trial of H&H VIP is currently available for new members.