Alan Davies On Life With Valegro
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Editor’s note: With the retirement of Valegro at the London Olympia International Horse Show this week, dressage-news.com asked Alan Davies, the groom of the 14-year-old KWPN gelding, and Carl Hester, part-owner of the horse, coach and mentor of rider Charlotte Dujardin, to share some memories
By Alan Davies
I first met Blueberry in 2011 when Carl asked me to take him to Vidauban in the south of France for his first international Grand Prix show. Right from the start he made my job quite easy as he took to traveling abroad really well and never gave me any worries. He won four classes in the two weeks that we were away and started then to be a big talking point and capturing everyone’s attention
I was supposed to just do a couple of shows but Carl decided he wanted me to stay and take on the management of Blueberry and Uthopia. It was a “no brainer” for me as I had already started to bond with these two amazingly talented horses. So I decided to stay on full time and that year became a busy one, traveling a lot in the run up to the Europeans in Rotterdam. Blueberry and I spent a lot of time on the road and I think that was when our bond was cemented.
We are quite similar souls, neither of us like any fuss or hassle when we are in the stables; we both love food and have to be careful what we eat! We seem to have a calming influence on each other and we both know how the other one is feeling!
I often get asked about favourite and special moments, which is difficult to answer as there have been so many!
I always remember the moment he started breaking records in Hagen (Germany) in 2012 with great pride and joy!
It was in the run up to the London Olympics and it was really unexpected and he took all the furore with such grace.
And in Lyon for the World Cup when he did his new music for the first time in public was a very special moment. There was a lot of pressure on him and he rose to the occasion with an incredible test!
The most difficult time was Aachen (Germany) in 2014 when he made some mistakes and shocked the world and didn’t win.
I was left with him in the stables while everyone else went for the prize giving and he looked to me for comfort; he knew something was not right. I took him for grass and kept telling him he was still number one in my eyes!
Luckily he soon was back on winning form!
He is such a kind, generous horse and not demanding, except for food; so he is a joy to travel with. His main love is dunking his hay so I always make sure he can do that! I feel very honored that he has trusted me to take him on planes and trains and boats and on many long trips. It will be quite strange not having him with me when I go off traveling, I think he’s going to miss it as well!
Meeting Blueberry has changed my life totally! He and I have become quite famous and people just love to hear the stories of Blueberrys life.
This has also prompted the change in people’s opinions to the role of the grooms; they are seeing now more than ever what an important job we grooms have. I’m lucky to even have sponsors now with Kingsland supplying me with amazing clothes and Eqclusive shopping me with brushes. I hope I can help promote the role of grooms and encourage more people to become professional grooms! And it’s all thanks to The Amazing Bluebery !!!