‘Uncle Carl gave me a lesson on Valegro’: do Christmas presents get any better than this?

One talented young rider has received the best Christmas present imaginable — a lesson from Carl Hester on none other than the mighty Valegro.

Ruby Hughes, the 11-year-old daughter of international dressage riders Gareth and Rebecca Hughes and Carl’s goddaughter, had the chance to put “Blueberry” through his paces at Carl’s beautiful Gloucestershire yard.

Ruby rode the 16-year-old Negro gelding very competently in trot and canter, even throwing in flying changes and doing some lateral work, before Carl helped her try some piaffe too, with Blueberry being very obliging.

“Blueberry was amazing. Uncle Carl gave me a lesson on him and even had me doing piaffe! And Blueberry’s canter was so big!” said Ruby.

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European and world team medallist Gareth added: “Ruby got an early Christmas present from her godfather Carl Hester and Valegro yesterday. This is what dreams are made of. It is something we will never forget.”

Carl added: “Christmas is about the kids! My 11-year-old god-daughter Ruby got her early Christmas present — a lesson on the one and only gold medallist Valegro.”

Ruby has had a successful season kicking off her dressage career, finishing fifth at the regional championships riding Ramnor Beau Supreme at novice, and also taking over the ride on the successful international dressage pony Le Chiffre.

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She is also a member of the English vaulting squad and has competed internationally in vaulting this year.

Blueberry retired from competition in an emotional ceremony at Olympia in December 2016, having broken every word record and claimed two individual Olympic titles with Charlotte Dujardin.

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