Charlotte Dujardin & Valegro No. 1 in World, 1st Ever Top Spot for Great Britain
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro who helped Great Britain rewrite dressage history by winning two Olympic gold medals, is ranked No. 1 in the world as of Saturday, the first time a rider and horse from her nation have been atop the International Equestrian Federation World Individual Dressage Rankings.
The 27-year-old rider and the 10-year-old KWPN gelding (Negro x Maifleur x Gerschwin) take over the top spot from the Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival in the rankings to the end of August, according to calculations by dressage-news.com. The official rankings will be posted early in September.
Charlotte and Valegro end almost seven years of domination of the top spot in the rankings by German and Dutch combinations–primarily Isabell Werth and Satchmo and Anky van Grunsven and Salinero, and, since 2009, Edward Gal and Totilas and Adelinde and Parzival.
Adelinde and the 15-year-old KWPN gelding (Jazz x Fidora x Ulft) that she took from an almost unrideable youngster to two World Cup titles to medals at the Olympics and European Championship will drop to second place after 13 months straight in the top spot.
All three top British partnerships, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris, Carl Hester and Uthopia as well as Charlotte and Valegro have flirted with the top slot. But since the current format of the combination of rider and horse determining the world rankings was begun Jan. 1, 2006, no Briton has made it beyond No. 2 until the country ended a century-long Olympic dressage medal drought in London last month.
The world rankings calculate the top eight results at Grand Prix level in the previous 12 months, thus the leaderboard with Charlottee and Valegro at No. 1 covers the period from Sept. 1, 2011 to Aug. 31, 2012.
According to the dressage-news.com calculations, the rankings to the end of August are Charlotte and Valegro No. 1, Adelinde and Parzival second, Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill third and Laura Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris in fourth place.
The British duo’s climb to the top began in March, 2011 with the first international CDI that led to their inaugural appearance in the rankings at the 188th spot, moving up to 63rd place a month later, 13th in July, getting to eighth in September, 2011 and second place in July this year.
The 18 months of the pair’s Grand Prix career saw them compete at 10 shows before the Olympics–from Hartpury, England, just minutes from their base at Carl Hester’s Gloucestershire training center, across the Atlantic to Florida’s winter circuit to Horses & Dreams meets Great Britain at Hagen, Germany in April where they set a new world record score of 88.022 per cent for the Grand Prix Special.
Results that counted toward the pair’s year-long tally were Olympia in London last December; Hagen, Germany in April and Hartpury, England in July, plus the sweep of first places in the Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Freestyle at the London Games Aug. 2-9.