Nicknamed Edwina, ‘The Girl on the Dancing Horse’, Charlotte Dujardin is one of the world’s top dressage riders. Charlotte started riding at the age of 2 and left school at 16 to work for international dressage rider Judy Harvey. In early 2007, her mother Jane met Carl Hester and persuaded him to give her daughter lessons and just after ten days Carl spotted her talent and offered her a job in his yard. Charlotte was asked to bring on the novice Dutch Warmblood ‘Valegro’ which belonged to Carl and they were a perfect team. At 29, the dressage sensation won a double gold at the London Olympics on board ‘Valegro’ after which the pair never looked back.
Following her double Olympic Gold, Charlotte was awarded an OBE in 2013 and in 2014 she was named The Sunday Times and Sky Sports “Sportswoman of the Year”. Charlotte and ‘Valegro’ currently hold all three World Records in Grand Prix Dressage tests. When asked about her wonder horse Charlotte said, “He is my best friend, my horse of a lifetime and I love him more than words can say”. Dujardin and ‘Valegro’ will now head to the Rio Olympics to defend their title and it will be the last time the world will see the champion horse as he will retire after the games. Charlotte attributes all her success to Carl Hester who not only is her coach and mentor but is also responsible for introducing her to her fiancé Dean Wyatt Golding, a South African former long-distance runner. The couple live together, five minutes from Hester’s yard, with their two dogs and rumour has it that after Rio there may be wedding bells.