Charlotte Dujardin was born on the 13th of July 1985 in Enfield. She started riding at the young age of two and tried dressage for the first time aged 13. Coming from a modest background Dujardin found it difficult in the beginning competing in the dressage world. She bought her first Grand Prix horse using the money left to her from her grandmother in 2013.
In 2011 Dujardin was asked by the British Olympic rider Carl Hester to bring on a novice Dutch Warmblood gelding named Valegro. The original plan was for Hester to ride Valegro, however Dujardin was so skilled at riding him she remained riding him under Hester’s guidance.
The 2012 games in London were a shining point for Dujardin and Valegro. Here they achieved a team dressage gold and an individual gold. This year was the start of Dujardin’s amazing dressage career having competed and shone in both the Grand Prix and the Olympics.
In the following years Dujardin and Valegro’s partnership went from strength to strength. Together they collected several medals in different international competitions becoming the world’s No1. She and Valegro grew to hold every record score in the discipline, having 87.46% in Grand Prix set in 2014, 88.022% Grand Prix Special in 2012, and 94.3% in Grand Prix Freestyle in 2014.
In Rio 2016 Dujardin and Valegro continued their streak of victories. Even though Britain was unable to retain the title of the Grand Prix Special, Dujardin performed beautifully in the Grand Prix Freestyle achieving a score of 93.857%.
Currently Dujardin is working towards developing the mount that will take her to Tokyo in 2020 as she is determined to retain her position at the pinnacle of her sport.
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Easy Ways To Improve Your Dressage Performance & Score
Dressage is a sport that requires correct attention to detail, with every move being perfect. However as we all know a perfect score is practically impossible, but improving your current score is not. Here are a few simple tricks to keep in mind when in the arena that will boost your performance on show.
First Impression Is Important
It is important to create a benchmark from the first step in dressage and so it’s imperative to nail your first halt. In order to do this you will need to break it into components to ensure a champion score.
- have a smooth entrance into the arena and make sure you are straight and your horse responds to your seat.
- have someone else watching you in training for your halt as if you look down yourself on the holt it often results in an unsettled horse.
- when you exit from the holt you should leave precisely. Keep your exit simple and graceful without unnecessary gestures.
Most people underestimate the importance of transitions in their dressage score. If you look at the Grand Prix, quickly you will see that 13 of the 33 movements in the Judges directives on the score sheet highlight transitions within the pace, or in or out of a movement. Practice hard on your transitions to make them as perfect as possible and this is an easy way to improve your score!
It is a common problem for riders at all levels, even professionals to be lacking in accuracy in the dressage test. If you strive to improve and stand out from the standard of your level in accuracy this is a sure way to help your performance. Each movement should be executed with precision and aim.
Corners provide a valuable opportunity to correct if needed. A lot of riders miss this in their eagerness in focusing on the next marker. You should make use of every corner by using it to do a small half holt pulling everything together and coming out of the corner ready to start the next movement as prepared as possible.
It is vital to visualize the arena you are riding in as this will make you feel more familiar and at ease in the competition arena. You need to visualize your test in real time. Go through each movement sitting down and place emphasis on your breathing when you think about it.