Valegro’s many successes include individual and team gold at the 2012 Olympics; individual gold at the 2016 Olympics; double individual gold medals at both the 2013 and 2015 European Championships; and individual gold at the World Equestrian Games in 2014. At Olympia 2014, he beat his own world record to achieve the highest-ever recorded grand prix freestyle dressage score: 93.4%.
Valegro belongs to Carl Hester, Roly Luard and Anne Barrott, and was bred by Joop and Maartje Hanse. The KWPN gelding has lived at Carl Hester’s yard in Gloucestershire since he was a two-year-old, having been born in the Netherlands in 2002. Valegro is by Negro, out of Malifleur (by Gershwin).
Carl’s protégée Charlotte Dujardin was given the ride on Valegro as a young horse to bring him on for Carl to ride, but their partnership proved too strong to dissolve. Despite being asked to name their price after the 2012 Olympics, Carl and Roly decided that they wanted to ensure the horse’s future was secure and Valegro is expected to remain at Carl’s for the rest of his days.
Valegro’s official retirement ceremony took place at Olympia 2016, where he produced an outstanding performance of his London 2012 freestyle to a packed house, proving that he was bowing out at the very top of his game. Although he has now retired from competition, Valegro remains in work and continues to entertain his fans with special appearances. He has also been immortalised in bronze in the nearby town of Newent.
Famously, Carl believes that horses should be allowed to be horses, so Valegro has always received regular turnout, and enjoys being hacked out. Valegro’s stable name is Blueberry and his groom is Alan Davies. According to Carl, Valegro’s biggest love is grass. Whilst in competition fitness, he regularly enjoyed a work out on the water treadmill at Hartpury’s Equine Therapy Centre as part of his routine care.