‘Don’t be a pussy!’: watch Charlotte Dujardin and Rory Gilsenan go hedge-hopping

Double Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin and top showing rider Rory Gilsenan took some time off from their respective sports last week to enjoy a day riding together.

The two friends spent Wednesday (28 August) popping showjumps at Rory’s Oxfordshire yard, riding through fields and jumping some impressive hedges at Tim Price’s neighbouring farm.

Charlotte had the honour of riding 10-year-0ld Irish sport horse gelding Atlantic Slim, with whom working hunter specialist Rory claimed the Cuddy Working Hunter of the Year title at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) in 2018. Rory himself piloted Claudine O’Connor’s heavyweight hunter Vision Impossible, who was seventh at HOYS last year with his owner.

As they approached one sizeable but well-trimmed hedge, Charlotte called, “I’m just going to put in a circle first, and get my canter”, to which Rory replied, “He had a canter on the gallops — don’t be a pussy!” Charlotte went on to clear the hedge several times in impressive style, including side by side with Rory.

Rory, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour last year, is awaiting surgery following the news that the tumour has returned.

Charlotte wrote on Facebook: “The challenges we face are sent to make us stronger. This week, I learned that my dear friend, Rory Gilsenan, has discovered that his brain tumour has returned, which for those who go through this and those around them, is crushing. But we know that when we choose hope, anything is possible.”

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Charlotte continued: “So today, two friends decided to forget about the world and just have fun with two horses, and I cannot tell you how much fun it was! One of the best days I’ve had in a long time.”

A fundraising campaign for Rory has been launched by feed and supplement brand Equine America, which is also donating 50% of the money from the sale of its new Bloom & Condition Pellets to Rory and his family.

Don’t miss this week’s issue of H&H for extensive coverage from the European Dressage, Para Dressage and Showjumping Championships, on sale now.