Dujardin eyes history on her horse in a million

Dujardin eyes history on her horse in a million

12 August 2016 / 09:00
Charlotte Dujardin shares a place in history - today she could - albeit briefly - seize it all for herself.
Dujardin is one of nine British women to have won two Olympic titles but she could be the very first to win three in today’s dressage Grand Prix.
Cyclist Laura Trott, another of the nine, goes in the women’s team pursuit this weekend but Dujardin has the advantage of competing early - and history, and the chance to be first, is within her grasp.
She leads the individual dressage standings and sits in silver medal position in the team event, alongside Fiona Bigwood, Carl Hester and Spencer Wilton. 
Dujardin and horse Valegro are already established as one of Team GB’s best-ever partnerships, alongside the likes of Redgrave and Pinsent and Torville and Dean.
Only 31, Dujardin is promising this second Games is just the start of her Olympic career - inspired by equestrian team-mates John and Michael Whitaker, aged 60 and 56 respectively.
But for Valegro, this will be his final competition. A life of leisure and luxury in a lush green field will be his deserved reward, whatever happens.
“He’s the horse of a lifetime, he’s so clever and down to earth and he loves the big stage, I’ve never known him get stage fright,” said Dujardin.
“I first rode him when he was four, we’ve grown up together in this sport. He started winning everything pretty quickly and he hasn’t really stopped since.  
“When you are sat on a horse like him then you can’t help but feel confidence because’s he’s just an out and out winner.”
Dujardin’s riding skills are beyond question but the race is now on to find a new horse - not that saying goodbye to Valegro will be easy.
After London owners Hester and Roly Luard announced they were planning to sell the superhorse, only for a last-minute change of heart.
“Our sport is about constantly trying to find great horses to ride but finding another Valegro, I don’t think that will ever be possible,” she adds.
“It was a rollercoaster year, thinking that every ride might our last together.
“I know him inside out, which makes it a bit more special. But if you ride a horse like that, it’s one in a million and it’s just a freak of nature that comes along.”
Sportsbeat 2016 

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