Dressage superstar Charlotte Dujardin offered a glimpse of the future as she claimed the latest in a long line of victories at the Horse of the Year Show in Birmingham.
Fresh from her double bronze medal-winning performances at the Tokyo Olympics, Charlotte returned to a show that she has a lifelong affiliation with.
The Gloucestershire-based rider, Olympic individual gold medallist at London 2012 and Rio 2016, became the most decorated British female Olympian when she took her total haul to six – a feat then matched by cyclist Laura Trott – in Japan.
With less than three years to go before the Paris Olympics, Charlotte paraded one of her potential future equine stars in the Andrews Bowen International Arena by claiming a comprehensive Dressage Future Elite Championship success on Imhotep, an eight-year-old chestnut gelding owned by Carl Hester and Coral Ingham.
The Inter 1 Freestyle success gave Charlotte a fifth consecutive Horse of the Year Show victory – on five different horses – after a score of more than 84% saw her secure an emphatic winning margin from runner-up Andrew Gould and Genie I.
It is an event where she has previously enjoyed considerable success in showing classes, and her latest captivated audience had no doubt that they had witnessed something special.
“I am absolutely thrilled with that,” she said. “It is the first time he has ever done a big competition like that, so to come into that kind of arena and perform the way he did, I am thrilled. He has got the biggest heart.
“He is going to be a very special horse. He is definitely one for Paris that we will be lining up. Hopefully, next year he should be at grand prix level. He shows so much talent and is so much fun to ride.
“Horse of the Year Show has so many memories for me. I love coming here. It was my childhood, and seeing all the people now that I used to ride with. There is nothing to beat it. It is great exposure for my young up and coming horses. For him to come here and do that is great. There is a special vibe here.”
And reflecting on her Tokyo achievement of reaching six Olympic medals, Charlotte added: “ I hadn’t even realised what I had achieved. It was a bit surreal. I feel very proud of myself – all the hard work pays off.”
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