Tales from Hartpury: Charlotte Dujardin on her novice champion – ‘He’s one of my favourites’

  • Charlotte Dujardin and Peter Balshaw’s Times Mon Amour wowed judges and spectators alike when pulling off a foot-perfect performance at the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships to land the Prestige Italia novice gold with 77.53%. And rightly so. The five-year-old Martinez x De Niro gelding has it all: looks, movement and temperament.

    The 2021 national four-year-old champion, bred by part-owner Peter Belshaw, has naturally athletic movement with an impressive and elegant hind leg that can be clearly seen in his incredible walk. He certainly has all the ingredients to make a world-class grand prix horse.

    “He’s really matured since last year,” said Charlotte of Times Mon Amour after her winning novice ride at the Winter Dressage Championships. “He’s much stronger in his body because he’s quite a big horse – but he’s amazing to ride and I think he has to be one of my favourites.”

    Charlotte explains that despite the gelding’s growing spurts, he still manages to stay consistent in his work.

    “He’s got so much energy, so much power and at the moment it’s just about containing it,” she said. “He keeps growing and changing, so his balance goes through phases of being a bit all over the place, but he’s developing his trot and is starting to get the suspension, and in the canter, he is beginning to manage the power. In his medium canter, you really feel like the hind leg is coming right underneath him. He’s phenomenal.”

    The gelding is already showing talent for the higher-level work.

    “The walk is the funniest because he literally bounces his way round,” Charlotte said. “He’s ready for piaffe – it feels like you just need to touch the reins and he’ll piaffe. I think when he gets to grand prix, that’s when he’s going to really shine.”

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