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‘A beautiful ride’: Charlotte and Freestyle dance their way to new personal best

Charlotte Dujardin was on top form at the Keysoe CDI3* (9-11 October) scoring a one-two in the grand prix and a personal best – as Carl Hester and En Vogue made their international debut.

Riding Emma and Jill Blundell’s Mount St John Freestyle, Charlotte and the mare won the grand prix on Thursday evening with a personal best for the combination of 83.19% – scoring five 10s. Charlotte also took second place with 79.34% on the nine-year-old gelding Gio, known fondly as Pumpkin, who she owns with Renai Hart. Gareth Hughes took third with Classic Briolinca.

Charlotte said Freestyle had given her a “beautiful ride”, and that it was a “super” night.

“Pumpkin tried his heart out for me, as always,” she said “[I’m] so happy with both of them.”

On Friday Charlotte went on to win the grand prix special on Freestyle with 84.14%, and the grand prix freestyle on Pumpkin 83.36%.

“[I’m] so proud of both horses and also want to say a special thank you to all of the team at Keysoe for putting on the show and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all of the competitors and our grooms,” she said.

“It was not an easy job but we appreciate all of your efforts in creating this safe space for us all to compete.”

The event also marked Carl’s international debut with his future team prospect, Charlotte Dujardin’s En Vogue. The pair scored 76.50% for fourth place in the grand prix, and 78.42% for third place in the special.

Describing his grand prix test Carl said he got a great feeling from an “incredible” horse.

“Not a perfect test but 76.5% in our first international,” he said. “Tonight is an example of why it’s all about the journey and not just the result. En Vogue gave me a stunning ride in the grand prix special.

“I have been so lucky to have some great horses in my career and I really think En Vogue will be one of them.”

Charlotte said to begin with Carl, who has had the ride since February, was not keen on the Jazz x Contango gelding.

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“At first he didn’t like him and didn’t think I should buy him – he said he was too tight in the walk and the canter,” she said.

“Vogue hasn’t been easy. He was wild when I was teaching him flying changes. I didn’t ride him outdoors until he was seven and I trained him in a 20 x 40m indoor! The feeling that he gave me when I first tried him is what made me believe in him. Now he’s one of the nicest horses I’ve ever sat on and if he trusts you he’ll do anything for you.

“Carl loves him now as you don’t have to do too much as he’s really ‘goey’. I love watching Carl ride him and I’m so happy to give him the opportunity to have a second grand prix horse when he did so much for me with Valegro.”

Full report from Keysoe CDI3* is available online to H&H Plus members and in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 15 October

Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade to access our H&H Plus online service which brings you breaking news as it happens as well as other benefits.

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