rhinestone-style

Charlotte Dujardin sets best ever freestyle score

Theresa McCaffrey

It has been a whirlwind past 18 months for Charlotte Dujardin as the dressage eventist has scored yet another significant achievement.

Achieving a gold medal in both the team and individual dressage at the London 2012 Olympic Games was simply not enough for the competitor and she has carried this success into 2013. However, while she has scored some major success in recent years there was one world record that continued to elude her, until now.

In front of a enthusiastic home crowd at The London International Horse Show at Olympia, Dujardin achieved the highest ever score for a Grand Prix Freestyle Dressage test. The British dressage competitor excelled in last night's (December 17th) Reem Acra FEI World Cup qualifier aboard her reliable horse Valegro.

The pair made the event look simply effortless and while the crowd were expecting a dominant performance, there was still questions of whether they could achieve the top prize. Those queries were answered when Dujardin and Valegro were awarded a score of 93.975 per cent, smashing the previous highest of 91.8 per cent set by Edward Gal at Olympia in 2010.

It was a defining moment for Dujardin who has been chasing a third world record for a number of years. She described the moment as the "best Christmas present" and the fact that it was achieved in the UK was made even sweeter for the 28-year-old.

Speaking after the event, Dujardin told Horse & Country that she did not feel the pressure of the Olympia arena: "I thought I had the ride of my life at the Europeans, so I went in there trying to replicate that. When I finished that left pirouette, where I made a mistake at the Europeans, I could breathe."

Dujardin managed to hold off competition from Gal who finished in second with a score of 87.425 per cent. Danielle Heijkoop came in third.