Day three out at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games saw European and Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin ride to gold in the Grand Prix Special to take her second medal of the games.
With her long-time partner, the talented twelve year old Valegro owned by Roly Luard and Carl Hester, Charlotte once again wowed the judges in the impressive Normandy arena to post a staggering 86.120% in today’s (27 August) Grand Prix Special, to take the world champion title.
Charlotte commented afterwards; “I had so much fun. When you ride a horse like Valegro you have all that power, it’s like driving a Ferrari, you just put your foot down and he goes, it’s an amazing and very rare feeling.
“It was really hard with the crowd, all I could here was their gasping – whether you were doing good or bad, it was hard to focus on what I was doing but it was great to have them behind me. You don’t really experience it [the noise from the crowd] very often, I know I had it a bit at the Europeans last year and at Aachen, but you normally only hear the music, it was tough out there.
“He felt the best he’s ever felt; I know I made some mistakes but to have that power, especially after doing the Grand Prix yesterday I just felt delighted with him.”
Alongside Charlotte, fellow British team member Carl Hester with Jane De La Mare and his own Nip Tuck, proved once again why he is one of Great Britain’s best dressage riders as he and Barney pulled out all the stops to produce a lovely test, for a score of 75.532% and a PB.
“I wasn’t expecting that; for him to do this on the Grand Prix Special day – this is only the third Special I’ve done on him, and for a personal best, I couldn’t really ask any more of him, he’s trying his hardest and I’ve now got to think about Friday!”
Having had a somewhat disappointing day yesterday, Michael Eilberg and Half Moon Delphi were back on fighting form today and produced the goods in a stunning early round to be rewarded with a score of 75.462%, and a top fifteen spot.
After his test Michael said; “I’m absolutely chuffed to bits, it’s exactly what I was hoping for. Today she gave her all, I asked her to dig a bit deeper and she gave me everything she had. After yesterday’s mistakes, to go in and ride a mistake free test was what I was hoping for, and what I did. I was really focussed, I think it’s the best test I’ve done – certainly the best Special.
“Her owners [Jon and Julie Deverill] are very supportive and they love her to bits; they’re very proud to have a horse in the team and love coming to these events, so all being well she’ll be getting better and better.”
Germany took second and third spots, with the Silver medal going to Helen Langehanenberg (Damon Hill NRW) and Bronze for Kristina Sprehe (Desperados FRH). All three British riders now go forward to compete in Friday’s Grand Prix Freestyle, where the world’s top fifteen dancing horses will once again grace the Caen stage.
Equestrian Team GBR is supported by the UK Sport Lottery funded World Class Programme; the British teams are very grateful to the support they receive from official Team GBR suppliers Dodson and Horrell, Land Rover, Mears Country Jackets, NAF, NuuMed, Point Two Equine, Tagg Equestrian and Toggi.