Horse & Hound dressage editor Alice Collins spoke to world number one Charlotte Dujardin after her outstanding grand prix ride at the World Equestrian Games on Valegro to score 85.271%. Their performance secured the silver medal for the British team and put the partnership at the head of the leader board, more than three percent ahead of Isabel Werth in second place.
Charlotte explains why Valegro was on much better form in Normandy than he was in Aachen, how she felt on the final centre line, what medal she is aiming for individually and introduces us to the British team mascot.
“After Aachen everyone was like ‘Oh my god, what’s happened to Valegro?’,” explains Charlotte. “But I really struggled with the temperature there and we didn’t have Valegro at his full fitness. We wanted him to come here and be at full fitness and it definitely worked. We upped his game since Aachen and it made me a stronger person not to fear what happens if it goes wrong. I’ve dealt with that and it made me come back and fight stronger.
“Valegro was trying to stop the whole way down [the final centre line]. I was like ‘Keep going, you haven’t finished yet!’ Bless him, he’s done that test three years in a row and he knows exactly where he’s going to stop. Hopefully tomorrow he won’t be thinking of stopping after the piaffe.
“It’s given me a lot of confidence for [the grand prix special] tomorrow. I’ll be happy with any medal as long as I know I’ve done my best and Valegro has done his best, that’s all that matters. It would be great if I could come away with gold, but I’ll be happy with any medal as long as we’ve done our best.”