Charlotte Dujardin claims PSG title at National Dressage Championships on ‘the bounciest horse I’ve ever ridden’

National dressage championships Charlotte Dujardin and Imhotep
Charlotte Dujardin and Imhotep, PSG champions at the 2021 nationals

Charlotte Dujardin scooped the first small tour title of the Lemieux National Dressage Championships, just three days after returning home from winning team silver and individual bronze at the European Dressage Championships.

Charlotte rode Coral Ingham and Carl Hester’s Imhotep to a resounding victory in the Fairfax Saddles prix st georges gold championship, scoring 77.82%. The eight-year-old gelding – a son of Everdale, Lottie Fry’s Olympic and European medallist, and out of a Vivaldi mare – only started at the level in May this year, but produced an accomplished performance here with no mistakes.

“I’m really happy with him. He hasn’t done a great deal but he is just so good in an arena – he didn’t even do an arena walk here,” said Charlotte. “Sadie Smith kept him ticking along at home for me so he stayed fit and then we just had three days to prepare him to come here. It’s been a whirlwind.”

Charlotte took over the ride on “Pete” from Sadie Smith in the summer of 2020, and the pair have yet to be beaten, being crowned advanced medium winter champions in July this year. Pete has only competed once since winning that title – winning at the Hartpury Premier League the week later – with Charlotte having been competing at the Tokyo Olympics and then the European Championships with Gio.

Charlotte is full of excitement for Pete’s future, whether she retains the ride or co-owner Carl takes over at some point.

“He just takes it all in his stride and is incredible to ride,” she said. “He is the bounciest, springiest horse I’ve ever ridden; he literally feels as though he is on springs. The grand prix work is all there as well, so I’m really excited to have him for big tour next year. For the minute I think Carl is quite happy to keep watching him!”

‘An absolute diamond’

Second behind Charlotte Dujardin was Becky Moody riding the seven-year-old Dante Weltino x Jazz son Jagerbomb. They posted 74.71% to finish 0.5% ahead of Andrew Gould and Genie I, the current winter PSG champions.

“The trotwork was super; in the canter work I lost a bit of the connection and we had one pirouette which wasn’t so good, but he is an absolute diamond and he has a heart of gold,” said Becky.

The spectator judging system proved popular with visitors to the National Dressage Championships, but interestingly, considering how close the spectator scores tended to be to the judges’ marks over the course of the day, the final leaderboard in this class would have looked very different had the spectators been in control.

According to the spectator judging app, Lucinda Elliott and Hawtins Duchessa, who finished fourth on 72.97%, would have won on 74.21%. Charlotte Dujardin, the winner, was deemed on the app to be in fifth place with a spectator score of 72.57% – more than 5% below the score the judges awarded her and Imhotep at the National Dressage Championships.

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