Charlotte Dujardin: Equestrian star becomes Britain's most decorated female Olympian

Charlotte Dujardin celebrates winning gold at Tokyo 2020

Team GB’s Charlotte Dujardin claimed a record-breaking sixth Olympic medal in the individual dressage at Tokyo 2020 to become Britain’s most successful female Olympian.

The 36-year-old joined rower Dame Katherine Grainger and tennis player Kathleen McKane Godfree on five medals earlier this Games when the GB team took bronze in the team dressage and added her sixth today at Equestrian Park.

Dujardin and horse Gio secured bronze –– adding to her other bronze medal, plus a silver and three golds.

How much do you know about the dressage star though? Here are five facts about the British sporting icon:

Started riding when she was two

Born in Enfield, London, Dujardin started riding when she was just two years old –– returning her older sister’s horses from the show jumping ring to the horse box.

By the time she was three, Dujardin was riding regularly and came second at her first Pony Club show jumping competition.

Little did she know at that point she would go on to become a six-time Olympic medallist…

Charlotte Dujardin wins gold at Tokyo 2020

Won every major title

Dujardin is the most successful British dressage rider of all time and has won every major title possible.

These include the individual Olympic freestyle, World freestyle and Grand Prix special, World Cup individual dressage and European freestyle, plus Grand Prix Special titles.

The Brit is also the only rider to hold this complete set of titles at the same time.


Used to compete in showjumping

While Dujardin is now dedicated to dressage, she was once a keen show jumper!

By the age of 16, the British star had already won at the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead three times.

A year later she committed to dressage full time, though she has admitted she still enjoys jumping from time to time.

Charlotte Dujardin wins gold at Tokyo 2020

Relationship with Carl Hester

Back in 2007, Dujardin sought employment with fellow Olympic dressage competitor Carl Hester, who then proceeded to coach her.

Having spotted her talent, Hester then offered her to cover for one of his staff as a groom at his yard in Newent, Gloucestershire, where she has remained ever since.

Hester also asked Dujardin to develop the novice Dutch Warmblood gelding Valegro, with the intention of riding the horse himself.

It was Dujardin who got to ride Valegro however, and the two enjoyed unprecedented success together.


Valegro

Dujardin has enjoyed the majority of her success while riding Valegro and rode the horse for five years between 2011 and 2016.

In that time, the dressage star won four Olympic medals including three golds.

In 2016, after the Olympia London International Horse Show, Dujardin retired Valegro aged 14, stating: “I wanted to retire him on a high note because he owes me absolutely nothing.”

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