Coach hails Dujardin's rise to success

08 August 2012 / 15:31

Charlotte Dujardin's former dressage coach openly admits she has struggled to contain her emotions this week.

Judy Harvey is working as a television summariser on the Olympic dressage competition at Greenwich Park, an event that her ex-pupil has taken by storm with a team gold medal and two Olympic records.

But the best could be yet to come, with 27-year-old Dujardin favourite for Thursday's individual freestyle competition on her horse Valegro.

Dujardin spent four years with Harvey in Buckinghamshire before moving to train alongside her fellow Olympic gold medallist Carl Hester. She credits Harvey for her early development as a dressage rider - and the respect is mutual.

"When Charlotte entered the arena to ride her grand prix test, I was welling up," Harvey said. "So you can imagine how I felt when she was on the medal podium. I had to get control of myself.

"Charlotte was 16 when she came to me. I had a vacancy at my yard, so Charlotte came to have a lesson and we assessed the situation. I could see she was dead keen and was a huge talent.

"To begin with, she was very much a showing rider, but she has always had a tremendous feel for a horse. She has always been incredibly brave and ready to get on any horse.

"She didn't mind falling off, and she would always get back on again. She would not be beaten. She always wanted to be the best she could be."

The stage is now set for Dujardin to chase double Olympic gold on Thursday.

She holds the British freestyle record of 90.65%, and her musical routine is set to include emotive strains of Land of Hope and Glory interspersed by Big Ben chimes.