Dujardin does the double on competition return at Windsor CDI
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British Dressage royalty Charlotte Dujardin made an emphatic return to the arena at Windsor CDI (10 – 11 May), achieving a duo of victories following the birth of her daughter Isabella just two months ago.
It didn’t take long for double Olympic Champion Charlotte Dujardin to get back in the saddle and back in winning form, making an impressive return to action in front of Windsor Castle on board her Herning 2022 World Championship partner Imhotep (Everdale x Vivaldi), owned by Carl Hester and Coral Ingham. The combination topped the results sheet in both the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Freestyle, as Charlotte repeated her dual success from 2019, the last time international dressage was held at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
Judges Marietta Almasy (FRA), Maria Colliander (FIN), Ulrike Nivelle (GER), Jacques Van Daele (BEL) and Eduard De Wolff Can Westerrode (NED), rewarded Charlotte and ‘Pete’ 77.261% for their performance in the opening Grand Prix test before going on to 83.200% in the Grand Prix Freestyle to Music. Speaking about her opening come back appearance Charlotte commented, “I haven’t competed for 8 months, and Pete [Imhotep] hasn’t done a competition since the 2022 World Championships. I have only been back riding for three weeks – so I was worried I would be a bit ring rusty – but he was incredible and was so positive with his energy. There are still areas that we can improve on which is exciting – we are now aiming for the FEI European Championships this summer.
“I was so excited to come here, it was really not in my schedule to rush back after having my daughter, but I got on and felt really good. I absolutely love this show, so here I am! I was so excited to be here, back out here riding and competing, for me it’s just such a buzz and I’ve loved every minute of it.”
Also making a return to action was Charlotte’s 2022 World Championships team compatriot Gareth Hughes with his own, Rebecca Hughes and Julia Horning’s 17 year old mare Classic Briolinca (Trento B x Royal Dance). The experienced duo appeared in fantastic form to post 75.345% (Grand Prix) and 80.510% (Grand Prix Freestyle) for two well-deserved runner up positions in front of a crowd treated to the best of British on home soil.
Emile Faurie completed the podium on the opening day of competition with his own and Diana Rose’s Bordeaux 28-sired mare Bellevue, whilst Royal Windsor debutant Lewis Carrier stepped up to third position in the Freestyle showdown, scoring a personal best of 77.40% with his former Young Rider and U25 team ride Diego V.
The atmosphere at Royal Windsor continues to impress both competitors and spectators, as Lewis summarised: “The atmosphere here is incredible – Diego V really rose to the occasion; he didn’t put a foot wrong even though he was so fresh. It is only the third time I have ridden through the test and my first time in a competitive environment. I wish there were more shows like Royal Windsor in the UK – the crowds have been unbelievable and right behind me from the start. I had a tear in my eye halfway through my test, and my final halt was the perfect way to finish.”
1. Charlotte Dujardin with Imhotep, 77.261% (GBR)
2. Gareth Hughes with Briolinca, 75.435% (GBR)
3. Emile Faurie with Bellevue, 71.826% (GBR)
4. Lewis Carrier with Diego V, 70.435% (GBR)
5. Louise Bell with Into The Blue, 68.761% (GBR)
6. Abigail Lyle with Farrell, 68.413% (IRE)
7. Kathleen Kröncke with San Royal, 68.043% (GER)
8. Laura Tomlinson with Fallatijn, 67.826% (GBR)
9. Sarah Rao with Alfranco, 67.370% (CHN)
10. Kevin Acres with Ganesh, 66.761% (IRE)
11. Anne-Marie Rawlins with Etoile, 66.261% (IRE)
12. Hayley Watson-Greaves with Rubins Nite, 64.326% (GBR)
Grand Prix Freestyle to Music
1. Charlotte Dujardin with Imhotep, 83.200% (GBR)
2. Gareth Hughes with Briolinca, 80.510% (GBR)
3. Lewis Carrier with Diego V, 77.405% (GBR)
4. Kathleen Kröncke with San Royal, 76.365% (GER)
5. Emile Faurie with Bellevue, 75.560% (GBR)
6. Laura Tomlinson with Fallatijn, 73.895% (GBR)
7. Louise Anne Bell with Into The Blue, 72.590% (GBR)
8. Abigail Lyle with Farrell, 72.025% (IRE)
9. Sarah Rao with Alfranco, 69.090% (CHN)
10. Anne-Marie Rawlins with Etoile, 68.345% (IRE)
Photo © Jon Stroud Media / British Equestrian