Already Olympic Champion and European Champion, the English rider Charlotte Dujardin extended her reign by becoming the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Champion this Sunday. But who could have beaten Valegro today? Charlotte's bay gelding, which belongs to her trainer Carl Hester, is so serene, relaxed and self-assured that she can dare to try new things...and even innovate by presenting a new routine to the music of one of her favourite cartoons "How to Train Your Dragon", for example! However, Valegro is certainly no dragon. Having only rehearsed twice back home, he managed to perform the routine with so much confidence that they achieved a score of 92.179% in the final; there was no world record this time, but as the Champion commented with a beaming smile: "... a first victory in the World Cup Final, that is really something!
This new test is technically more complicated, particularly with its piaffe pirouettes. When I presented it to Carl, his eyes opened wide with surprise, and then he just let me go for it." Much to the delight of the spectators in Lyon who witnessed a truly great moment in dressage, half way between sport and equestrian art.
The charming German rider Helen Langehanenberg put in a wonderful performance, even though today in Lyon, with 87.339%, she did not achieve the score she reached in Neumünster. Nonetheless, she was happy with the way her test went: "I made two mistakes too many. I took some risks, but I felt good with Damy. His movements were even better than yesterday. It was my first time in Lyon and I was pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome and the facilities, where everything has been well planned for our horses. I really had a good weekend here." Edward Gal, who finished third, was a bit more subdued: "Undercover was slightly better than yesterday, but it’s not quite there yet. I struggled to keep him relaxed when really close to the public. He's a bit of a nervous horse: it's perhaps not my best competition with him, but we are still learning and this experience will be valuable for the future," said the elegant Dutchman.
According to the Dressage Director of the FEI, Trond Armin, this was one of the best editions of this class: "I have seen many World Cup Finals, but few such as this." What more is there to say?