Charlotte Dujardin & Valegro Capture Rotterdam CDIO5* Freestyle
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands, June 22–Great Britain’s Olympic gold medal partnership of Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro won the Rotterdam CDIO5* Grand Prix Freestyle Saturday night despite a personal best score for runnerup Edward Gal and Glock’s Undercover before a home crowd.
Charlotte and the 11-year-old KWPN gelding (Negro x Gerschwin) scored 87.425 per cent in their first international competition of this year and was only 0.550 per cent below their final competition of 2012 in December of last year.
Edward and Undercover scored 86.075 per cent that beat the pair’s previous highest Freestyle score of 85.100 per cent set just tree months ago and the performance brought the loudest cheers of the night from the crowd of 6,500 that packed the stadium despite intermittent rain and unseasonable cold. Tinne Velhelmsson-Silfvén of Sweden and Don Auriello were third on 79.825 per cent.
Charlotte said that after winning both team and individual gold medals at last summer’s London Olympics and then competing at the Christmastime Olympia show Valegro has “been hacking and having a lovely time.”
The horse still is “not up to full fitness,” and thus she chose the same music she used at the Florida World Dressage Masters in in January, 2012 “to give him a nice ride” in Saturday night’s performance because it was easier.
The British-themed music she used for the Olympics has been retired, she said, but is working on new music and choreography for the European Championships in Herning, Denmark in August.
“He definitely does not have the power,” she said. “I’ll go away and work on the fitness. There’s a lot more in there I can give.”
Edward and Undercover were the victims of a glitch in the electronics that stopped the music in their piaffe shortly after the start of the ride when the horse was already a little tense.
“I thought, ‘should I go on or stay in piaffe until the music goes on.’ I stayed in piaffe until the music came back on. I was a little bit behind the music for much of the ride, but I didn’t have any mistakes so I feel good.”
Tinne said she is experimenting with new choreography to the Cess Slings musical program as Don Auriello is “a little more mature and can do different things.”
Charlotte’s next competition is the final at Hickstead, England of the pilot Nations Cup series of four events while Edward will next compete at the national championships in in mid-July.