‘When I watch her ride I get jealous’: Patrik Kittel on why Charlotte Dujardin inspires him

  • Patrik Kittel has been one of the leading lights of international dressage for over a decade and next week will compete for Sweden on Well Done De La Roche CMF at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon — his 11th championship. He is also currently standing for the position of rider representative on the FEI dressage committee, at the same time as preparing to welcome his first child in October. Life is hectic for the 42-year-old, but he finds the time to tell H&H about the riders he most admires.

    When asked which other riders he has most admiration for, two names dominate Patrik’s response.

    “Isabell Werth continues to amaze me all her time — she has such willpower — and then there’s Charlotte Dujardin,” he says. “You define a good rider, not for doing well with one horse, but with several. To really educate horses and stay on top for years— that’s an amazing rider and there’s not many who have done that,” he points out.

    “When I watch Charlotte ride I get really jealous — she has the most amazing position in the saddle. You watch her ride at lower levels, like elementary, and her horses already look like potential grand prix horses; it’s very impressive to see that. She’ll be back on top of the world for sure — the good riders always climb back up again.

    “Success is not about luck or money, but about the ability to educate and the science of keeping horses sound and happy. Everyone has a different approach but it’s the riders doing that who still inspire me every day.”

    Patrik and his wife, Australian Olympic rider Lyndal Oatley will welcome their first child this October, a daughter.

    “I really hope my daughter will be as good as Charlotte one day,” says Patrik. “I’ve joked with Carl about him training her up to be a new Charlotte.

    “My little girl can do whatever she wants to do in life. But horses give people lots of responsibility, and kids who have been involved with animals from a young age generally grow up to do well and have more responsibility in life.”

    Read the full interview with Patrik in this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, out today (6 September). For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday

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