‘I’m so excited for him as a team horse’: meet Charlotte Dujardin’s next superstar

  • The nine-year-old chestnut gelding Imhotep emerged as a serious contender to be Charlotte Dujardin’s next top horse when he made his grand prix debut with almost 78% at Myerscough Premier League in mid-March.

    Imhotep, known at home as Pete, is a son of EverdaleLottie Fry’s Olympic and European medal-winner – and out of Della D’Ottie, a mare by Vivaldi. He is owned by Coral Ingham and Carl Hester, who bought him as a youngster from the Netherlands. While his score at Myerscough was seriously impressive, it’s the enthusiasm and excitement that Charlotte has for him that really indicates he could win medals for Britain one day, just like his famous father.

    “I had only ridden through the grand prix twice at home on him, and it was mistake free. I couldn’t have asked for more,” said Charlotte of the test. “I was so excited to go down the centre line on him for the first time in a grand prix and I was buzzing even more as we went through the test. For such an inexperienced horse it was amazing that he came out and went like that.”

    Imhotep already caused a stir when he won three small tour titles at the National Dressage Championships last September. He certainly has plenty of talent for the higher work, and Charlotte explains that the most challenging grand prix move to train as he has moved up the levels has been the one-time changes.

    “The one-tempis have taken the longest to get because they are so, so big. He needs the full diagonal for all the changes,” she says. “When you ride him there is just so much movement to absorb. The piaffe and passage are incredible to ride.”

    Charlotte Dujardin and Imhotep: the plan for 2022

    But of course, for a horse to do well at a championship, they must perform at their peak not just once but often twice or three times, in the grand prix, grand prix and the freestyle. For Pete, this challenge presents no issues, as Charlotte explains.

    “I’m so excited for him as a team horse. He always has energy for three tests in a row – he is going to be absolutely amazing for that. He will never run out of energy,” says Charlotte, adding that her plan is to gain the scores needed to compete Pete abroad in the next few months.

    While a place on the British team for this summer’s dressage World Championships in Herning, Denmark, might be an ambitious goal for Pete, it is worth remembering that Gio (Pumpkin) had only completed a handful of grand prix tests before winning double bronze for Britain at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. In order to be qualified to participate at the World Championships, Charlotte and Pete would have to achieve grand prix scores of 66% or above at two international shows before July, when the nominated entries for Herning are due.

    Whatever this season may hold for Charlotte Dujardin and Imhotep, this is one combination you can expect to see a lot of in years to come.

    “After Pumpkin, it’s great to have such a partnership with Pete, to be bringing on the next one,” says Charlotte.

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