‘Difficult decisions need to be made’: Charlotte Dujardin’s Olympic medallist Gio changes hands

  • Charlotte Dujardin’s Olympic and European individual bronze medallist Gio has been sold, and will no longer be competed by Charlotte.

    The 10-year-old Apache x Tango gelding Gio has been sold to 16-year-old British rider Annabella Pidgley, who will now take over the ride.

    “As many of you know who own horses, run yards and compete, this is certainly not a sport for the faint-hearted and comes with many highs and many lows; horses being the incredible levellers that they are,” said Charlotte, who owned the KWPN gelding, known as Pumpkin, with Renai Hart and Carl Hester.

    “In order to maintain a position in sport, especially in high level sport, at times, these difficult decisions need to be made. I am so thankful that I do not have to do this regularly, as it is always such a hard thing to let go of animals that we see as our family.”

    Annabella, who trains with Charlotte as well as Danish Olympic rider Cathrine Dufour, won double individual silver at the junior European Championships earlier this year on Sultan Des Paluds.

    “Annabella is one of the most promising riders in our country, and works so hard to develop herself and her horses, whilst giving them nothing but five star care,” continued Charlotte. “I will train the pairing, so I am delighted that our precious ‘Pumpkin’ will stay in my life and I will still see him on a regular basis.

    “Having taken some time to see her ride Pumpkin and fall for him as much as we have, I know a wonderful new chapter awaits him.”

    Annabella added: “To say this is a huge privilege for me is an understatement, and I know this is such an honour for me to take the reins of such an iconic little horse. I can only say that under the training of both Cathrine Dufour and Charlotte, I will work every day to do my best by him, bond with him and keep him in the manner he is used to.

    “Thank you to Charlotte and Renai for trusting me with your special boy.”

    Annabella is the daughter of the late Tony Pidgley, a major equestrian benefactor and supporter, who died in 2020, aged 72.

    “I have to say a special thank you to my family for the support and belief in this; I would not be where I am without your love, support and guidance and will always strive to make you and my late father proud,” added Annabella.

    Charlotte bought Pumpkin as a five-year-old, having spotted him while she was teaching a clinic in California.  The diminutive gelding shot through the ranks and emerged as one of the world’s brightest stars in 2021, winning four championship medals this summer.

    His selection for the Tokyo Olympics came as a surprise to many, but he and Charlotte won Olympic team bronze in July, alongside Lottie Fry and Carl Hester, going on to win individual bronze too. Less than two months later, the pair led the British team, also featuring Lottie, Carl and Gareth Hughes, to team silver at the European Championships, before scooping another individual bronze medal.

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