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Ten minutes with Charlotte Dujardin

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From dream days off to desert island must-haves, Charlotte Dujardin reveals the answers to the questions you’ve always wanted to ask

Charlotte Dujardin’s famous dressage partner, Valegro, may have retired from competition, but the top rider still has a team of exciting young horses to compete this year, including World Equestrian Games prospect Mount St John Freestyle, and is in demand to host masterclasses all over the world. 

Name: Charlotte Dujardin CBE

Date of birth: 13 July 1985

Based in: Gloucestershire

Notable achievements: Charlotte is Great Britain’s most successful dressage rider. Riding Valegro, she won three Olympic gold medals and individual World and European championship titles, and the pair holds three world records. At last year’s British Dressage National Championships, Charlotte won 10 national titles with 10 horses.

How do you stay motivated to compete when you’ve already achieved so much?

It’s easy because it’s not just about competing, but the whole partnership I have with my horses and their training. That’s what motivates me every day.

Has it felt strange not to be a part of championship teams since Valegro’s retirement or is it nice to have a break from the pressure?

It’s actually been nice to have a break and focus on my up-and-coming horses. 

You’ve got a whole string of exciting horses, but who do you think could fill Valegro’s shoes?

For me, it’s not about trying to fill Valegro’s shoes – he’s one in a million. Of course I’d like to get on teams again and ride for my country, but it’ll never be about trying to find a horse as good as Valegro. I want to achieve as much as I can with each individual horse. 

If you didn’t work with horses, what job would you be doing?

It would be something related to animals, as I love them.

Do you have any superstitions or pre-competition rituals?

I have a pair of lucky breeches.

What’s the best bit of training advice you’ve been given?

I’ve had lots of great advice over the years, but probably the best is to take your time with horses. Make it clear to them what you’re asking and be kind along the way.

What would your dream day off involve?

I enjoy walking my dogs in the hills and catching up with friends. 

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want to have with you? 

My fiancé Dean, music and tasty food!

What one exercise should all riders incorporate into their schooling sessions?

Transitions and plenty of them.

Quick-fire questions

Cake or chips? Chips

 Quiet night in or big night out? Night in

 Documentaries or reality TV? Reality TV

 Mares, geldings or stallions? Any – it depends on their personality

 Competing indoors or outdoors? I like both, depending on what time of year it is

 Competing on a team or as an individual? Both are exciting

Photos: FEI/www.arnd.nl, Kit Houghton

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