Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin OBE is one of the world’s top dressage riders. With her former world number one partner Valegro, they currently hold the world record scores in all three grand prix dressage tests.
Born in Enfield in 1985, Charlotte was brought up in Hertfordshire and started riding at the age of two. She joined Carl Hester’s yard in 2007 for a few days as a groom and never left.
Charlotte produced Valegro from the start of his career under the watchful eye of Carl, who owns the horse in conjunction with Roly Luard and Anne Barrott. Initially Charlotte was producing the Dutch warmblood gelding with the intention of Carl taking over the ride. But, after competing in their first dressage grand prix event in 2011, the combination became part of the successful team who won gold in a European Dressage Championships competition at Rotterdam and their partnership has remained ever since.
Charlotte and Valegro went on to win two gold medals at London 2012, represented Britain at the 2014 World Equestrian Games (WEG) and claimed individual gold, setting a new WEG record, and team silver. After this Charlotte was crowned the Sunday Times and Sky Sports 2014 Sportwoman of the Year.
In 2015 Charlotte and Valegro won the dressage World Cup Final in Las Vegas with a score of 94.169%. They also spearheaded the British team at the 2015 European Dressage Championships in Aachen, where the team won silver and Charlotte claimed gold in both the grand prix special and the freestyle.
Valegro bowed out of competition after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where he retained his individual Olympic gold.
With her excellent horsemanship, support and training, it was clear that Charlotte was never going to be a ‘one-horse wonder’. She has recently returned to the sport at the highest level with her new equine star, Mount St John Freestyle. The pair made their championships debut at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA, where they lead the British team to win bronze and came away with individual bronze after the grand prix special. It was only the third time that the then nine-year-old mare had completed the test in competition. The grand prix freestyle was cancelled as a result of Hurricane Florence.