Valegro a New York “celebrity”
Following freestyle competition, three-time Olympic champions Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro did a momentous freestyle exhibition to the thrill of fans.
Dujardin then let spectators come down to the arena to meet her world-famous mount in person. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many dressage enthusiasts and a memorable and incomparable moment at the RCPHS.
Valegro will have his official retirement from a record-breaking career in a ceremony at the Olympia Horse Show in London, England, in December, and finished out his competition career on a high note at the Olympic Games in Rio.
Valegro will still make public appearances, and after the very first of those non-competition performances on Saturday, Dujardin commented, “I think it is nice for me to be able to come into an arena now and not worry if I make a mistake. I can just go in there and enjoy it even more than when I was competing. Valegro is such a special horse and the consistency he has had is incredible. Now I don’t have to worry about that, and I can just have fun. It is nice for him to come and do these things as well. He loves meeting the crowd, and he loves the people. He was bombarded with people tonight, and he loves it. They were patting him, and hugging him, and kissing him, so what a nice end for him.”
Detailing her choice to retire Valegro this year, Dujardin remarked, “He is only 14 and he could do a couple more years, but to me I don’t feel that I have any reason to keep going with him. He has won absolutely everything. He holds every world record. He has been a horse of a lifetime for me. I would love everybody to remember him as the best horse he is, and after Rio I could not have asked for a better ride. It was just one of the most emotional and magical rides of my life, and I would hate for him to finish his career down. He owes me nothing, so why not finish at his best? It is not the end of Valegro. He is not going to compete, but he is still going to be around and people will see him, and I think that is very nice for him.”
After a fantastic experience for both horse and rider in New York City, Dujardin and Valegro will now return home to England. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show thanks them and all of the horses and riders that helped make this year’s dressage edition so special.
The spectators were able to come into the ring and bid farewell to the great Valegro