Glamourdale – the world champion dressage stallion who makes crowds gasp

  • Glamourdale is the black KWPN stallion with whom Britain’s Lottie Fry became double individual world champion at the World Dressage Championships in Herning, Denmark, in August 2022.

    Bred by Joop Rodenburg in the Netherlands, and born on 10 May, 2011, Glamourdale is by the successful dressage sire Lord Leatherdale, a son of the bundeschampion Lord Loxley, and out of Thuja, a daughter of Negro x Ahorn, and full sister to Spencer Wilton’s grand prix ride Numberto.

    He was bought as a foal by Gertjan and Anne Van Olst of Van Olst Horses, and has since lived at their Den Hout base.

    As a three-year-old, Glamourdale was crowned champion of the 2014 stallion inspection, and was also reserve champion of the 2014 KWPN performance test. He received a score of eight for his walk; 8.5 for his trot, elasticity, rideability and attitude, potential as a dressage horse; and nine for his canter, and posture and balance.

    Glamourdale and Lottie Fry

    Britain’s Lottie Fry moved to base herself with the Van Olsts in the Netherlands in 2014, aged 18. She first rode Glamourdale in 2017, when the stallion was six, and says that she was “blown away” by him straight away.

    “I had never sat on anything like that before, he was always so special,” she says of the early days of her partnership with the stallion.

    In 2018, Lottie Fry rode Glamourdale to win the coveted seven-year-old title at the World Breeding Championships in Ermelo, the Netherlands, with Lottie becoming the first British rider to win this esteemed title. Glamourdale gained marks of 10 for his canter, with Lottie reporting that even then, it felt “like you’re flying”.

    “We all knew at home that his canter deserves 10s but we didn’t know if the judges would agree with us,” she said.

    Lottie also explains that it was at the young horse championships that she first realised just how much Glamourdale loves to show off to a crowd.

    “That was when we really knew that he was a massive showman, with the more people [watching him], the better. He loves the attention and wants everyone’s eyes on him,” she said.

    At home though, Glamourdale is a softie.

    “Glammy is super-sweet and cuddly, and just a super-cool chap,” says his groom, Richard Neale.

    Rise to stardom

    Glamourdale competed lightly at small tour in 2019, and was unbeaten internationally that year, scoring over 80% to win the inter I at Aachen CDI4*.

    He took a year out of competition in 2020, and made his international grand prix debut at Hagen CDI4*, Germany, in April 2021, posting 74.46% under Lottie. He competed sparingly throughout the year, as Lottie focused on her Tokyo Olympics and European Championship team ride Everdale, and it was in 2022 that Glamourdale really rose to become Europe’s most exciting grand prix horse.

    He won the grand prix special at Lier CDI4*, Belgium, in March 202 with a personal best of 78.68%, and followed this up with a double win at Opglabbeek CDI4* a month later, this time posting 80.98% in the special, which five-star FEI judge Isobel Wessels said was “a privilege to judge”.

    Lottie Fry and Glamourdale at CHIO Aachen 2019

    Lottie Fry and Glamourdale at CHIO Aachen 2019.

    In May, he added another double win to his record as a member of the British Nations Cup team at Compiegne CDIO5* in France, scoring just under 80% in the grand prix, his final international outing before being selected for the British team at the Herning World Championships in August.

    In Herning, Glamourdale and Lottie led the British quartet – also featuring Richard Davison (Bubblingh), Charlotte Dujardin (Imhotep) and Gareth Hughes (Classic Briolinca) – to the team silver medal with a plus-80% grand prix.

    The pair won individual gold in the grand prix special with 82.5%, making the Herning crowds gasp with the power and quality of his canter work.

    “To get 82.5% at world champs is what dreams are made of,” said Lottie afterwards. “Glamourdale was incredible, he went in there and just did everything I could ask.”

    World Dressage championships results

    Two days later, the pair added another individual gold in the freestyle with over 90%, riding to music by Joost Peters, entitled Best of British.

    “This was what Glamourdale was made for: arenas like this, and music like that,” said Lottie. “I didn’t dare to dream about scoring 90%, to be honest. It is something that all my idols do – I didn’t expect that it would happen to me.”

    A stallion in demand

    Glamourdale has also proved popular as a breeding stallion alongside his dressage career to date. He has sired almost 1,200 foals to date, with 111 registered with the KWPN in 2022, among them 50 fillies and 61 colts.

    One of his 2022 foals, Gravity, a Glamourdale x For Romance filly, sold for €71,000 at the 2022 Danish warmblood elite foal auction, held alongside the Herning World Championships.

    Glamourdale was taken out of active breeding between 12 July and 12 August 2022, to allow him to focus solely on the World Dressage Championships, and was available via frozen semen only during this time.

    As of 12 August, following his double gold in Herning, Glamourdale was made available for fresh semen once again. Currently, his stud fee stands at €1,700 + VAT at Van Olst Horses.

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