12 stars of Christmas: why Charlotte Fry could be the next Charlotte Dujardin

Over the 12 days of Christmas this festive season, we are shining a light on up-and-coming talent across the disciplines. These are people you really need to keep an eye out for in 2019...

2018 has certainly been 22-year-old Charlotte Fry’s year. The Holland-based British dressage rider, known as Lottie, had already set tongues wagging in June when she made her international senior grand prix debut with the 10-year-old Zucchero gelding Dark Legend at Bolesworth, finishing third behind seasoned Olympians Carl Hester and Richard Davison in the freestyle.

But it was in August that she really exploded onto the world scene, when she piloted the Van Olsts’ exciting Lord Leatherdale x Negro stallion Glamourdale to the seven-year-old world championship title at the World Breeding Dressage Championships in Ermelo. Just two weeks later she was back on top of the podium, leading Britain to a historic bronze medal at the Under-25 European Dressage Championships before claiming individual gold with Dark Legend.

To top off this stellar year, Lottie was named the 2018 Saracen Horse Feeds Young Rider of the Year at the Horse & Hound Awards.

“It’s been a dream year — so many things have been amazing,” says Lottie, whose aim for 2019 is simple: “To make it as good as 2018!”

It’s hardly surprising that Lottie is becoming one of the hottest names in dressage — her mother was dressage Olympian and European silver medallist Laura Fry, who died in September 2012 due to breast cancer. Inspired by her mother, Lottie has dedicated her life to the sport, and in 2014, aged 18, she made the move from the UK to base herself at the yard of Anne and Gertjan Van Olst in the Netherlands.

It was, in fact, her then trainer Carl Hester who suggested she move out to Holland in the first place.

“I had been training with Carl Hester, and was supposed to go and work for him when he said, ‘I’ve got a much better opportunity for you, with more horses and more riding’. He put me in touch with Anne,” remembers Lottie. “Arriving out there was nerve-racking, but everyone was so nice and welcoming.”

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For 2019, Lottie has an enviable string of young horses to bring on and compete, including Dark Legend and Glamourdale, and two five-year-olds, Iondale and Inclusive. Both are by the Lord Leatherdale stallion Everdale, whom Lottie also competes at international small tour, and she rates them as hugely exciting future prospects.

Watch out Charlotte Dujardin, there’s another Charlotte hot on your heels.

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