‘This feels unreal’: European silver medallist achieves career-best result to put Olympic demons to bed

  • For Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour winning two individual medals at the European Dressage Championships helped soothe the sting of finishing fourth at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this summer. Cathrine and Bohemian followed up their bronze in the special on Thursday (9 September) with silver in the freestyle. This was the best individual result of the 29-year-old’s career so far, having won bronze in 2017 and 2019 on Atterupgaards Cassidy.

    Here at the European Dressage Championships with the 11-year-old Bordeaux gelding Bohemian, Cathrine Dufour wowed audiences and judges alike with her gorgeous routine set to music from Les Misérables, which features dramatic vocals to accompany her pirouettes, and was rewarded with a massive score of 88.44%.

    The only mistake was an error behind as they moved directly from two-time changes to one-times, and the pair scored especially highly for their piaffe-passage work and lovely pirouettes. They finished behind Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, who topped the podium, and just snuck ahead of Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin, who took bronze.

    “This feels a bit unreal,” said Cathrine. “My overall feeling was of not having to push too far with Bohemian, which I felt I had to in Tokyo. In the special here and especially today I almost didn’t have to do anything; I could sit up there and just ask really politely. He allowed me to add in a bit more pressure than on Thursday, and I’m so proud and happy.

    “He has developed since Wednesday [the grand prix]. We learned something new together and that is just what this sport is all about. Today was really really tough sport,” she said.

    “He is super cool in the ring and the more audience the better as he’s really brave,” said Cathrine of Bohemian, adding how wonderful it was to ride in front of packed stands again after the Tokyo Olympics being held without spectators. “It’s always just a matter of whether we’re on the same team, but today he was fantastic.”

    Cathrine has partnered “Bobi” since he was a five-year-old and credited his owners at Abildgaard Equestrian for their support.

    “It is fantastic to have owners like that in the sport,” she said.

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