Olympic Champions Charlotte Dujardin & Valegro to Give Freestyle Exhibition at New York’s Central Park
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Sept. 10, 2016
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
The 2016 and 2012 Olympic champions Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro will give a Freestyle exhibition at New York’s Central Park Horse Show later this month, the organizers announced Saturday in a tribute to only the third horse and rider partnership in history to win two individual Olympic dressage gold medals.
The appearance by Charlotte and the 14-year-old KWPN gelding (Negro x Gershwin) on Saturday night will be a highlight in the third year of the iconic event in the heart of New York City.
On Friday evening during an NBC Sports Network broadcast of the $216,000 CSI3* jumping Grand Prix a commemorative ceremony will celebrate the bronze medal achievement of the U.S. dressage team at the 2016 Olympics for riders Steffen Peters, Laura Graves, Allison Brock, and Kasey Perry-Glass, along with Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover.
Tickets for the event are available here: https://ticketing31.cld.ondemand.com/online/index.php3?shopid=116&language=2
The U.S. Open dressage Grand Prix will be Friday afternoon with the $50,000 U.S. Open freestyle on Saturday evening, with the exhibition by Charlotte and Valegro in the break.
Since Carl Hester, part-owner of Valegro, became mentor and trainer of Charlotte the 31-year-old rider and her mount have become global celebrities. She gave a master class without Valegro at Central Park last year.
Their performance record has been remarkable.
Beginning with their first CDI Grand Prix in March 2011, Charlotte and Valegro have started 61 times for 49 victories.
Among them was one run of 22 straight first places from April, 2012 through an Olympics. European Championships and the pair’s first World Cup title at Lyon, France in 2014.
A second run of 18 straight wins from July, 2014 took the duo through the World Games, a second World Cup title, at Las Vegas in 2015, the Europeans in Aachen, Germany in 2015 up to the Olympics in Rio in August this year.
The hardware in her vault includes 12 gold medals from Olympics and world and continental championships.
Team gold from the 2011 European Championships; team and individual golds at the 2012 Olympics; individual and freestyle gold medals and team bronze at the Europeans in Herning, Denmark, in 2013; World Cup champion at their first Final at Lyon, France in 2014; individual and Freestyle gold medals and team silver at the 2014 World Games in Normandy; 2015 World Cup champion at Las Vegas; individual and Freestyle gold medals and team silver at the Europeans in Aachen, Germany in 2015 and individual gold and team silver at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The 2012 Games results provided Great Britain its first Olympic dressage medal in a century of equestrian competition at the Games.
After the 2012 Games, Charlotte and Valegro became No. 1 in the world for 36 months until the end of 2015.
Also beginning in 2012, the pair began compiling world records and by Christmas 2013 posted the best marks for the Grand Prix, Special and Freestyle that they continue to hold.
The only previous two-time horse and rider winners of Olympic individual gold medals are Anky van Grunsven of the Netherlands on Salinero in 2004 and 2008 and Nicole Uphoff of Germany on Rembrandt in 1988 and 1992.
“We can’t wait to see Charlotte and Valegro perform under the New York City skyline at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show,” said International Equestrian Group CEO Mark Bellissimo.
“They have millions of fans around the world, and our spectators will not be disappointed by seeing this stunning pair in action in the world’s greatest city.”
The organizers of the Central Park Horse Show also manage the Adequan Global Dressage Festival and Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina and the Colorado Horse Park in Parker.