History maker Dujardin owes dream debt to golden horse

RECORD breaking equestrian Charlotte Dujardin credited her horse Valegro after winning Great Britain’s first ever Olympic gold medal in individual dressage.

The 27-year-old, competing at her first Games, followed her historic gold in the team event with a superb performance at Greenwich Park to pip Holland’s Adelinde Cornelissen.

Laura Bechtolsheimer, another of Team GB’s gold-winning dressage team, also plundered her second medal of the Games, taking bronze. The day belonged to Dujardin, however, who scored an Olympic record 90.089 in the day’s final display to overtake her Dutch rival – and of course Valegro.

“It’s unbelievable. I’ve always known that my horse could achieve this but with the atmosphere and expectations, actually doing it is something else,” she said. “He felt a bit tired today but he gave me his all. He’s never let me down, he’s the horse of a lifetime.”

Team-mate Bechtolsheimer also praised Dujardin’s horse, saying: “I love Charlotte’s music – it shows the expression that Valegro has. Since she has been in the team we’ve won two golds.”

Enfield-born Dujardin, who played down suggestions 10-year-old Valegro is to be sold, performed to a British film-themed arrangement, featuring soundtracks to The Great Escape and Live And Let Die.

While she is the first British equestrienne to win two golds at one Games, Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris were not far behind her with a score of 84.339. Carl Hester, also part of the first British team to win dressage gold, and horse Uthopia, were fifth on 82.857.