The golden duo of Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro capped a sensational Olympia, the London International Horse Show 2014 by breaking the world record for grand prix freestyle on Wednesday evening (17 December).
They scored 94.3% — picking up 25 10s on the way and scooping the £11,000 first prize — and broke their own previous record of 93.975%, set at this show last year.
To a soundtrack of music from How To Train Your Dragon, the 12-year-old Negro gelding produced a flawless test with an exceptionally high degree of difficulty. Judge Isobel Wessels awarded a 98% artistic mark.
“I was thrilled with the ride and I had so much fun out there,” said a delighted Charlotte. “I had so much confidence after such a good ride last night, so I knew I could go for it tonight. However much I want from Valegro, he just gives it to me.”
Dutchman Edward Gal was second on Glock’s Undercover (Ferro x Donnerhall), who showed tension and made some costly mistakes, but still scored 83.55%.
“Undercover got too excited when I started the canter and we had mistakes in the two-times,” he rued.
The German rider Jessica von Bredow-Werndl rode Unee BB into third with 80.725%, relegating the third-placed combination from the grand prix — Danielle Heijkoop and Siro — into fourth.
Jessica said: “The arena at Olympia is wonderful; it’s like riding in to a castle.”
Carl Hester and Nip Tuck, the youngest horse in the field at 10 years old, slotted into fifth with 79.925%, layering more than 3% onto their previous personal best.
Sonke Rotherberger, 20, pulled off a test full of life and energy on Favourit (Fidermark x Worldchamp) to take sixth with 77.825%.
The only other Briton to qualify for the freestlyle, Nikki Crisp and Pasoa, withdrew before the class due to rider illness.
Read Horse & Hound’s full report on all the dressage action from Olympia, in 25 December magazine