As the countdown to the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show begins here we catch up with the leading lady of dressage Charlotte Dujardin. Charlotte will be competing and riding in the dressage demonstration at the event.
How did you get into riding, what attracted you and why dressage?
My family, especially my mum, were always passionate about horses and ponies so it was a natural progression that both me and my sister would start riding. My first love was showing and I went on to win at the Horse of the Year Show and that really opened my eyes to what it was like to head the line-up at a major and also iconic event. I quickly learnt that to get the best out of any horse or pony you had to be a team learning together and for this dressage was the obvious choice.
What are the secrets to success?
Determination, hard work, some luck along the way and never giving up on your dreams when it comes to achieving your goals.
How achievable is it for ambitious young riders today?
Both Carl and I have achieved our success through hard work and always striving to increase our knowledge. Neither of us were given anything but we have certainly made the most of the opportunities so yes I would encourage young riders to dream big and aim for the top and surround yourself with good trainers. You never stop learning.
Tell us about your magical Olympic journey?
My major competition success is without doubt thanks to the huge faith Carl had in me and of course the wonder horse that is Valegro, or Blueberry as we call him at home. The Olympics was such a big achievement for me and winning gold medals is just the most magical feeling in the world. After London 2012 I did start to feel the pressure of everyone wanting my time and there was so much media interest in the success. It took me a while to process what was happening but thankfully everything fell into place and I definitely came out of it a stronger person looking to the future.
Your relationship with Valegro?
He is an incredible horse and he has given me so much. He just deserves the very best and has done so much not just for me and Carl but the dressage world as a whole. He has helped bring the sport to the masses who want to know more about his special personality and of course his huge talent for performing at the highest level across the globe.
And what do you think this has done for the sport?
Dressage is now on a whole new level and is recognised by so many more people outside the sport more than it ever has been. The term ‘dancing horses’ came to the fore after London 2012 and to a certain extent helped promote the sport and make it more understandable for the public.
What are you busy with at the moment, in and out of the dressage ring?
Although Valegro has now retired from competition he is still ridden regularly to keep him fit and he is also brought out for special occasions and demonstrations. I have a fantastic team of young horses that I am so excited about and we had a great time with them at the British Dressage Winter Championships in April. There is so much going on at the moment from teaching clients to holding masterclasses both at home and abroad that I never really stop, plus I have been working on my autobiography which is out in August.
If there is ever a spare moment, what do you enjoy doing to relax and recharge?
Spare moments are few and far between but my fiancée Dean and I do try and make time for a quick getaway or a nice meal out when we can. I also love taking my dogs for long walks in the Malvern Hills.
What are you looking forward to at Bolesworth this year? What makes it special?Bolesworth International is just spectacular and a very special show. For dressage to become a bigger part of the event is just great news and the main arena is superb to ride and compete in with