Charlotte Dujardin has taken over the lead in the London Horse Show dressage in spectacular fashion with her Olympic and European Championship ride Gio. The pair stormed to the top of the leaderboard in the grand prix, supported by Horse & Hound, with 82.55% – posting 11% more than the nearest contender, Richard Davison with Bubblingh, who was awarded 71.53% for his smart test to take a short-lived lead over Gareth Hughes.
The highlights from the Charlotte and “Pumpkin’s” mistake-free performance in the London International Horse Show grand prix were the trot half-passes, the pirouettes, and Gio’s crisp, bouncy passage which never deviated from its rhythm.
“I was absolutely over the moon with today’s ride,” said Charlotte. “That’s the first time I have ridden the short format of the grand prix with Gio, and he is still very inexperienced. I wasn’t really sure how he was going to be because obviously it is a very big arena with lots of people moving, and spectators around, and you’ve got the warm-up with lots of people around as well, so things he hasn’t really experienced before. But he handled it all so well and went in there and did a fantastic test. I’m so pleased with how he went in there and performed.”
This is the 10-year-old’s second indoor show, having only ever competed indoors at Keysoe CDI3* in October 2020. At the ExCeL, the pair received scores from the judges ranging from 84.74% from Britain’s Peter Storr, down to 79.34% from Denmark’s Susanne Baarup.
Charlotte rode the Apache x Tango son to win team and individual bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, and went on to win team silver and another individual bronze at the Europeans in September. It was announced in October that Pumpkin had been sold to Annabella Pidgley, with Charlotte taking back the reins for the London Horse Show.
This is the first time Charlotte and Pumpkin have competed together since the Europeans and it is also Pumpkin’s first time competing in the London Horse Show dressage. Charlotte was the winner of the last London World Cup leg, at Olympia in 2019, riding Mount St John Freestyle.
Today’s short grand prix acts as a qualifier for tomorrow evening’s grand prix freestyle, which forms the London leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup series. Charlotte and Pumpkin will perform the freestyle routine that won them bronze medals at both the Olympics and Europeans.
“It’s the third time I get to ride this music and I absolutely love the music. What a night it will be tomorrow,” she said.
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