‘You almost think you’re there’: Charlotte Dujardin on the new venue for ‘Olympia’

  • This morning’s London Horse Show dressage grand prix winner Charlotte Dujardin said the new venue for the show at ExCel is “lovely”, although “there’s nothing like that grand hall” at the event’s previous home at Olympia.

    “I’m not going to lie – it’s not the same because I think there’s nothing like that grand hall, the roof and everything being so close,” said Charlotte. “For me Olympia was one of the most spectacular arenas, but this is much bigger, there’s so much more space throughout.”

    The new venue, which will house the show for this year and potentially longer, has considerably more space, particularly in the warm-up and other backstage areas. Other riders echoed Charlotte’s positive feedback on this. She also praised the way the show has been set up to feel as much as possible like Olympia in some aspects.

    “They’ve done a fantastic job of setting it up and when you ride down the chute, you almost think you’re there [at Olympia],” she said. “They’ve done it very similar and tried to keep it all the same, so it’s actually lovely.”

    Charlotte also praised the new short grand prix test used in this class, which is supported by Horse & Hound, and said it suited her ride, Gio.

    “That test suits him very well because it is quite twisty and turny. Everything comes up very short and quick. For him those lines actually worked really well because he is small,” she said.

    “It rides very well, though everything comes very quick. You are so used to doing two or three more piaffes and flying changes and more everything, but it all happens very fast.”

    Charlotte also mentioned the fact the test starts with turning onto the right rein after the first centreline, whereas the standard grand prix test starts on the left.

    She said: “It’s a bit strange as well doing everything off the right rein, not off the left. We’re so used to doing it off the left, then all of a sudden you’re doing it off the right. But I really enjoyed it.”

    The London Horse Show dressage continues tomorrow evening with the freestyle.

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