As the dressage surpemo prepares to do battle at Olympia Horse Show in London this week, H&H brings you 12 facts about Charlotte Dujardin — from what the Queen had to say about her riding, to why she turned down requests to appear on television
1. “If I could ride and train any horse dead or alive it would be Milton — he was a horse I always looked up to when I was growing up. I remember watching him at shows like Wembley and he was just incredible”.
2. “In a young horse, first and foremost, I look for a good temperament and trainability. They then need to have a good walk, but it mustn’t be too big, and a good canter. The trot isn’t something I worry about as I know when I teach them things like passage and introduce the suspension, the trot always changes and it’s something I can improve”.
3. “I had three goals when I started working for Carl Hester — to ride in a British team with Carl, to ride at Olympia and to ride at the Olympics”.
4. “When it comes to fitness I ride nine or 10 horse per day. I also have a personal trainer — we really focus on working my core for strength and stability. I’m also aiming to do a half marathon on 1 March 2015″.
5. Future projects — “I would like to do a book but I should probably get married first!”
6. “I love to muck out but I don’t have time to do it on a day-to-day basis — I will muck out on Christmas Day though”.
7. “I hate dressing up and being a girly girl”.
8. “The only time I have gone into the arena and purposefully ridden for a world record was at Olympia last year”.
9. “The Queen said in front of me to a fellow guest at a function at Buckingham Palace: ‘There’s no other girl who can ride like Charlotte’ — I nearly died of shock!”
10. “I used to struggle with nerves and forgot my test on a regular basis as a result — I had some sports psychology and it isn’t a problem any more”.
11. “I turned down requests to appear on Dancing on Ice and A Question of Sport — I couldn’t risk myself ice skating and I have limited general knowledge on most sports including dressage!”
12. “I appeared in the Olympia finale with my sister when I was about eight-years-old — we ran about on foot as Father Christmas was going round the arena — it was always a dream for me to ride there”.