Charlotte Dujardin on her quirky Winter Dressage Championships double winner who can’t be turned out in the field

  • Charlotte Dujardin scored two of her  three wins of the 2022 NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships on the seven-year-old mare Times Kismet.

    Owned by Peter Belshaw, this Ampere x Lord Leatherdale mare was a double champion at novice and elementary levels in 2021, and has demonstrated incredible progression by securing the Equitex advanced medium gold and Horselight medium gold titles this year.

    “She’s only seven and she is doing everything she needs to do at her age, so she will have a nice year at advanced medium and if she has a break that’s ok,” said Charlotte of Times Kismet. “Next year she will do small tour and hopefully I’ll take her abroad – those shows are great for giving them experience with the travelling, and being there for four or five days.

    “She is still just learning the changes and they’re still a bit green, and the straightness isn’t quite there, but she does amazing things; she is a bit like Freestyle in the sense of the shoulder, and she has so much ability there,” continued Charlotte, referring to her world bronze medallist Mount St John Freestyle. “Kismet is also very tall, a really big mare and it’s all about getting her strong.”

    Kismet certainly looks as though she has the ability to go all the way, showing great aptitude for the higher level work even at her tender age. She goes in a beautiful frame, with a soft, consistent contact, with her sweeping half-passes a particular highlight of her performances at Hartpury.

    However, Charlotte revealed that while she is “phenomenal” to ride and compete, and that grand prix is definitely on the cards within the next few years, she is a rather quirky horse at home – and is the only horse at her and Carl Hester’s yard that cannot be turned out in the field.

    “She is the only horse we have ever had that we can’t turn out,” said Charlotte. “We have tried her in big fields, in small fields, with other horses and without, but she will not go out and we can’t work out why.”

    Carl and Charlotte are known and well-respected for the importance they place on their horses having regular turnout – indeed their current top rides, Imhotep and En Vogue, live out almost 24/7. But with Kismet, they have had a challenge to ensure she gets the fresh air and downtime she needs.

    “She hand-grazes, but that’s as much as we can do, otherwise she goes crazy,” Charlotte adds. “She has a bit of a funny character; in the stable she is a busybody, looking around at everything. She can’t wait to be ridden and she jumps up and down. But the minute you get on her she is like a different horse.

    “The really special ones all have their quirks.”

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