Charlotte completes clean sweep

Dujardin secured the Grand Prix hat trick today when winning the Grand Prix Special with Imhotep

BH HICK 20240512 7

Charlotte Dujardin rounded off an excellent week at the I.C.E. Horseboxes All England Dressage Festival, with a third Grand Prix title.

The World number five brought Friday’s Grand Prix victor Imhotep back for Sunday’s I.C.E Horseboxes CDI3* Grand Prix Special, where she once again topped the leaderboard with 81.362%. Her mentor and team-mate Carl Hester and Fame were second with 78.660%.

“I’ve had a fantastic week with both my horses, finishing off the show with the Special with Imhotep, and I felt like he did one of his best tests that he's ever done,” said Charlotte.

The 11-year-old Imhotep picked up nines and tens for his piaffe and passage work, as well as his pirouettes and final halt. “There was a rider error in the ones [one-time changes] but apart from that I was absolutely thrilled. It’s great preparation to make these mistakes here and hopefully get them all out of the way. Each time you do a test you feel like you’ve learned something. By Paris, hopefully there’ll be no more mistakes.”

At last year’s European Championships, Charlotte and Imhotep were part of the gold medal-winning team as well as picking up two individual bronze medals. Their impressive Hickstead performance this week will have no doubt helped their selection campaign ahead of this summer’s Paris Games, when Charlotte could go ahead of cyclist Dame Laura Kenny as the British female athlete to win the most Olympic medals.

Imhotep is the more likely contender for the Games, but in her Freestyle winner Alive And Kicking Charlotte has another potential championship horse in the making. “With Paris in mind, it’s something we’re really focusing on, we’re really busy trying to get everything in tip top shape,” she said. “They’re very different horses. Pete is like being on a spring, he’s extremely bouncy and very powerful, and he’s quite big and wide to ride. Whereas Audrey [Alive And Kicking] is smaller, much neater, and a totally different mover to Pete.”

This week marked Charlotte’s return to Hickstead following the birth of her daughter Isabella in 2023. “It has definitely put a perspective on my career. Before having Isabella, this [riding] was my life, and I was so focused on doing this all the time, whereas now being a mum has made me realise what’s important. Being a mum is the best thing in the whole world, she’s my number one priority. Competing is all about going out there to make her proud, so it’s fantastic that she can come and watch me here and be a part of it.”  

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