Charlotte shared the video of Valegro, who turned 20 years old on 5 July, performing a relaxed piaffe from earlier this year, and saying, “20 years old and always my one in a million.”
Together, Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, who was bred in the Netherlands by Joop and Maartje Hanse, and bought from Gertjan Van Olst by Carl Hester in 2005, rewrote dressage history. They led Britain to the nation’s first dressage team gold medal at London 2012, also winning individual gold, before becoming European and world champions in the years following, setting several world records – that still stand – along the way. Their final competition together was the 2016 Rio Olympics, where they retained their Olympic title, winning gold once again.
The great horse was retired in December 2016 in an emotional ceremony at Olympia, but he has remained very much in the public eye, attending demonstrations and enjoying meeting fans at home.
Valegro – who is known as Blueberry at home – is still ridden regularly, mostly by Alan Davies who, as Carl and Charlotte’s groom, accompanied them around the world throughout the height of Valegro’s career.
“I try to keep them both fit and well and happy, and ticking over,” said Alan, referring to Valegro and Carl’s London 2012 gold medallist Uthopia, now 21. “I love them to bits and I do get told off sometimes for spending a bit too much time with them, brushing and generally pampering them. But they deserve it.
“They’re amazing to hack, they really are. Valegro is like a police horse. I love riding him so much, and he loves it – you have to kick to come home on him!
“He loves going out round the roads or the fields, chatting to the neighbours, chatting to the cows on the next farm and anyone can ride him,” Alan says.
You may also enjoy reading…
How well do you know the dressage supergroom? Here are nine things about Alan that you might not have known….
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.