Dressage superstars, Charlotte Dujardin OBE and Valegro, are heading back to Hartpury, hoping that the Festival of Dressage proves the springboard to more Olympic success.
The Festival, which runs from July 6th to 10th, is likely to be the final competition before the 2016 Olympics in Brazil both for Charlotte and World Freestyle record holder Valegro and for fellow Great Britain dressage star, Carl Hester MBE, and Nip Tuck; although team selections for Rio are yet to be announced.
Hartpury’s Elite Dressage coach, Carl Hester MBE, is also Charlotte and Valegro’s coach and mentor, having nurtured their talent from their very first competitions together.
Charlotte and Valegro, who are based in Newent, were double Olympic gold medallists at the London 2012 Olympics. Since then, they have amassed an impressive tally of medals, including becoming 2014 Individual Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle World Champions, winning Team Silver at the 2014 World Equestrian Games and gold at the 2014 and 2015 Dressage World Cup. They have also claimed three World Records.
Both Charlotte and Carl put in star turns at last year’s Hartpury Festival of Dressage, when record entries saw more than 400 riders from 17 nations compete in more than 40 dressage and para-dressage classes over five days of outstanding equestrian sport.
Having already won three major classes over the first four days, Charlotte teamed up with Valegro again on the final day to wow the crowds with a fantastic test to win the Baileys FEI CDI Grand Prix Special with 87.765.
Valegro is a regular visitor to Hartpury to use the hydrotherapy treadmill at Hartpury’s Equine Therapy Centre. He is brought by his groom, Alan Davies, several times a month as part of his normal regime, increasing his visits to twice a week in the build-up to competing at major events.
Charlotte said: “We love Hartpury. We’re so lucky to have a facility like this so close by and it’s such a super show; we look forward to it every year. The people behind the scenes here are incredible and so are the facilities.”
At last year’s Festival, London 2012 Olympic team gold medallist, Carl, rode Nip Tuck to victory in the Superflex CDI Grand Prix Freestyle.
Phillip Cheetham, Equine Director at Hartpury College, said: “We are thrilled that Charlotte and Carl and their phenomenal horses are making the Hartpury Festival of Dressage such a key part of their build-up to Rio.
“The Festival always attracts a star-studded line-up of competitors from all over the world but, to have such renowned ambassadors for the sport at the college is very special. Everyone in the Hartpury community will be rooting for them, both at the Festival and at the Olympics.
“It’s such exciting news and we’re hoping for big crowds to cheer them on and give them the best possible chance of going for gold in Brazil. To have the chance to watch the very best in the world at our unique venue is an opportunity not to be missed!”
The Festival features five of days of outstanding equestrian sport, incorporating Premier League, CDI3*, CPEDI3*, Shearwater Young Dressage Horse Semi-Final, British Dressage Young Pony Championship and the Elite Stallions Prix St Georges Young Horse Championship.
Saturday’s gala evening is always the major highlight. Last year’s sell-out gala evening saw 800 spectators watch outstanding dressage action in an electric atmosphere.
Tickets for the gala evening, which includes day entry, are £16.50 in advance. A hospitality VIP package for the gala evening is available for £60 to include champagne reception and four-course meal overlooking the Hartpury Arena.
Day entry is free on July 6th and 7th, or £6 per person on July 8th, 9th and 10th. Under-16s go free on all days, except the gala evening. If you would like to come on the 8th, 9th and 10th, you can buy a combined ticket for the special offer price of £15. Parking is free on all days.