Valegro Not to Appear at Central Park Horse Show, Charlotte Dujardin to Give Special Performances

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Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro celebrating individual gold medal at the European Championships. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro celebrating individual gold medal at the European Championships. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

NEW YORK, Sept. 7, 2015–Valegro, the Olympic, world and European champion, will not make the trip to compete at New York’s Central Park Horse Show but rider Charlotte Dujardin will give special performances at the event being held for the second year Sept. 23-27.

The announcement that was reported by The Chronicle of the Horse, a sponsor of the event, was not unexpected following last month’s European Championships where Charlotte made it clear she wanted to focus the 13-year-old KWPN gelding on the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next summer.

The pair led Great Britain to team silver and won two individual gold medals at the Europeans in Aachen, Germany to add to gold medals from the 2012 Olympics, 2013 Europeans, 2014 World Games and the 2014 and 2015 World Cup titles.

Charlotte will perform a series of special performances at Central Park with the highlight a ride on a selected horse on Saturday, Sept. 26, during the U.S. Open $75,000 Dressage Freestyle. The 30-year-old rider will also give a demonstration on Sunday afternoon.

Blueberry, as she calls Valegro “is an amazing once-in-a-lifetime horse, and Carl [Hester] and I just want to ensure he gets a well-deserved rest after an intense and successful championship last month, as his health and happiness is our No. 1 priority,” Charlotte said. “My fans are very important to me though, and I am still very keen to be a part of this incredible show in New York City in such a beautiful setting. I am really looking forward to engaging with my fans and deliver a fun and unique experience for them.”

Mark Bellissimo CEO of International Equestrian Group, LLC that organizes the horse show, said:”While I was initially disappointed when the decision was communicated, I believe that horse welfare is paramount, and it was the absolute correct decision. However, the lasting impression for me, and I’m sure with many others, is Charlotte’s professionalism in working with us to make sure that her fans were not let down. I think it will be exciting to see Charlotte work her magic in front of a passionate crowd on a new horse that she was just introduced to. Her master class demonstration on Sunday will offer an incredible opportunity for fans of the sport, as she will explain the strategies and techniques required to adapt to a situation such as this. She is truly a great professional.”