Charlotte Dujardin welcomed spectators into the arena to meet Valegro after the pair’s exhibition freestyle in Central Park
New York – September 24, 2016 – Throngs of adoring fans gave Olympic champions Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro the warmest of welcomes to New York City Saturday night as the pair danced through a freestyle exhibition. Fresh off their second Olympic individual gold medal, Dujardin and Valegro were guests of honor at the Central Park Horse Show, performing at the close of the CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle won by Judy Reynolds.
The reigning world record holders rode to their ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ music, returning to an old favorite after using a specially designed, Rio-themed freestyle in their last two competitions. The music and challenging floor plan highlighted the gelding’s lovely movement and the duo’s incredible harmony.
Valegro, now officially retired from competition, displayed plenty of energy and flash despite taking it easy in the weeks since his Rio Olympic victory. Dujardin let him show off his huge extended trot as they took their farewell lap around the arena.
Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro
“I think it’s nice for me to be able to come in the arena now and not worry if I make a mistake, and just go in there to enjoy it even more than I did when I competed,” Dujardin said. “There’s always a huge amount of pressure and expectation. I’m always at the top, so people are always wondeing whether I’m going to still maintain staying there.”
She added, “Now I don’t have to worry about all that. I can just have fun. It’s nice for him that he gets to come and do these things as well. He loves meeting the crowd, he loves meeting people – we were literally bombarded with thousands of people.”
Previous U.S. appearances for Valegro came at the 2015 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas, where he claimed his second World Cup title, and the 2012 World Dressage Masters Palm Beach, where he finished second only to Ravel and Steffen Peters. He retires as the reigning double Olympic champion, world champion, European champion, and triple world record holder.