Charlotte Dujardin breaks the 90% barrier for the first time since taking individual gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016
Charlotte was riding her current top horse, the 11-year-old Fidermark mare Mount St John Freestyle, owned by Emma Blundell. The pair posted 90.2% – their personal best as a partnership – to win the grand prix freestyle and secure their place as 2020 British national champions.
“What a way to start my Christmas,” exclaimed a delighted Charlotte. “Freestyle had a lot of pressure to take over after Valegro but this year has been really good for her, doing training shows.”
The beautiful test, set to a Tom Hunt soundtrack based on the music from the movie Frozen, featured stunning pirouttes, bold, dramatic extensions and sublime changes. It wasn’t entirely mistake free, with a couple of slight losses of balance, but it was rewarded with Charlotte’s highest score since the Rio Olympics, where she and Valegro scored 93.86% to retain their Olympic title and take their 10th gold medal.
This is Freestyle’s third year at grand prix, having won team and individual bronze with Charlotte at the 2018 World Equestrian Games. They represented Britain at the European Championships the following year, but were eliminated after their grand prix and therefore denied the chance to contest the special or freestyle. They had secured their place at the 2020 World Cup final before it was cancelled, and will target the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
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Charlotte and Freestyle now join an elite list of just seven combinations to have ever broken the 90% barrier in dressage: Charlotte herself with Valegro, Isabell Werth on Bella Rose and Weihegold OLD, Edward Gal on Totilas, Helen Langehanenberg on Damon Hill and Sönke Rothenberger on Cosmo.
Charlotte and Freestyle came the closest almost 12 months ago at their final international show before the coronavirus pandemic, Amsterdam CDIW in January, where they posted 89.5%.
Full report from the grand prix freestyle coming shortly for H&H Plus members. Don’t miss 31 December issue of H&H for a full report from the LeMieux National Grand Prix Championships, plus an exclusive column from Carl Hester.
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