Killer instinct, Valegro’s nephew and riding all night – Lottie Fry and Anne van Olst’s demo at London

  • The crowd at London Horse Show on Thursday (15 December) were treated to a demonstration by Lottie Fry and her trainer, Anne van Olst, before watching Lottie win the World Cup grand prix. Carl Hester also joined Anne and Lottie for part of the talk.

    Lottie rode the four-year-old approved stallion Nalegro, who is by Painted Black and out of Jalegrofleur, a full-sister to double Olympic champion Valegro, who was bred by the van Olsts.

    “Valegro was called Blueberry, so we call him Blackberry,” said Anne.

    Lottie commented: “This is a big atmosphere for him but he feels like he’s coping well and he’ll be another year older after this day. He gives me the feeling of a future grand prix horse, that’s for sure.

    “Character is very important and he’s showing me today he has a really top character. I think he’s enjoying himself in here. He loves to work, loves to learn new things and finds everything so easy. He has so much power in his little body and manages to control it in an amazing way for a four-year-old. Whatever I ask, he tries to do it.”

    Carl joked about the fact that the van Olsts sold him Valegro and he made the contact that resulted in Lottie going to ride for them – “hopefully I paid them back by selling them Lottie!”

    On Nalegro, he added: “Valegro was well known in his day for his canter. His canter always scored 10s when he was doing young horse classes. With Nalegro, you get the same feeling that this horse is capable of 10s because of the incredible power in his hindleg and suspension. Looking at a four-year-old, you’re seeing a beautiful natural canter. Imagine what the canter is going to look like when he’s learnt to do flying changes or pirouettes. You can teach most horses that, but if you have a canter like that and they learn, you have the possibility of 10s.”

    Lottie’s daily routine

    During their demo at the London Horse Show, Lottie Fry and Anne van Olst also gave some insight into their lives at home. The van Olsts have about 75 horses under saddle and Lottie, who has been there eight and a half years, rides 14 horses most days.

    Anne explained: “Lottie has 18 on her list and she has a very good team around to help her, so one day they are hacking, another day being lunged, but mostly she is training 14 horses a day. I ride in the morning and Lottie and I train for five hours together every afternoon.”

    The Danish Olympian paid tribute to Lottie’s work ethic and passion for the sport, as well as her desire to keep learning.

    “She rides all these grand prix horses – she has eight at the moment – but also three- and four-year-olds and she does the first horse in the morning with the same passion as number 14 at the end. That’s why she’s world champion. And sometimes I say, I know you’re world champion, but you have to do this or that differently!”

    Lottie added: “When you love it and you love the horses and the training, every horse motivates you and you learn something from every horse every day. You never stop learning and it’s inspiring to ride all day every day. If I could have my way, I wouldn’t sleep, I’d just keep going all night as well!”

    Carl drew parallels between Lottie and double Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin, saying: “Both have the killer instinct for competing. Most riders, if you said you’ve got to go down the tunnel into the arena and get 85%, it would tip them over the edge. But with Lottie and Charlotte, when they go down, they go for it.

    “Dressage has to look harmonious and light, but it also involves taking risks if you want eights, nines, 10s. Lottie is one of those riders who can take risks, hence why she’s the current world champion.”

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