Thursday, August 9, 2012

Congratulations to Charlotte Dujardin and Great Britain!

I just finished watching the Freestyle competition.  All I can say is "Wow."  

I have a super secret confession.... Don't tell anybody about this, because I'll totally lose all my DQ cred if this secret gets out.... 


I don't like musical freestyles.  I just don't.  I think they're a bit boring, slightly silly and don't do much for the credibility of the sport.  I spend a lot of time convincing people that what I do is not just "horse dancing", and then the musical freestyles get all the attention and I'm back to square one.  

I love to watch a well performed Grand Prix or Grand Prix Special test, but not so much the freestyles.  Many times the music isn't really my taste, and many times it's really not well suited to the horse, and most times I just find the music distracting. 

I will say, however, that Laura Bechtolsheimer's freestyle brought a smile to my face.  It was fun, lively and well suited to the horse.  But Charlotte Dujardin's freestyle really blew me away.  It was just incredible.  

I'll freely admit that when I heard her music start I thought "Ick, another boring one."  But, because I watched the freestyle after it had been performed, I already knew the score.  And I still wanted to watch her ride, just to see what that score looks like, and watch her and Valegro go around again.  As she rode, I got more interested.  I didn't particularly like the music, but she rode it beautifully and it wasn't distracting.  And then she had Valegro do those pirouettes!  Amazing!  I teared up!  It was just so perfectly executed and so meaningful, such a good representation of horse and rider.  

I'd never heard of Charlotte Dujardin before these Olympic Games.  She is many years my junior, but I can now say, without a touch of irony, that when I grow up I want to be Charlotte Dujardin.  


14 comments:

  1. Wasn't it breathtaking! I had tears streaming down my face - in public - embarrassing myself, by being one of those people who are glued to a smart phone...

    My newest dressage hero! :D

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  2. I had tears as well. And I want to be Charlotte when I grow up too. I'm only twice her age...

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    1. I think Hiroshi Hoketsu proved to the world that there is no age limit on a dressage star! By my calculations, you've still got a good 30 years left!

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  3. Going to have to find the video of it now. I am ashamed to say I have not even turned on the olympics once this year....no time.

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    1. This was actually the first Olympics I've tuned into in a long time. Thanks, crazy East Coast heat wave!

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  4. I too was in tears. There were so many truly beautiful moments.

    And best of all, Valegro was always "open" in front and just a smidgen in front of vertical--perfect position, balanced and round, the whole ride.

    This was a well earned and rightly rewarded gold medal.

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    1. The sport is changing, I think. I'm excited to see it. I hope to be a part of it.

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  5. Well I am going to be the opposition .... must be in my French genes ;-) I was very emotional with Anky and Salinero. I thought they were brilliant, perhaps because I saw them live in 2007. I think she is an amzing horsewoman, despite her methods!
    I loved Fuego. Wht a show, riding with one hand showing off his stallion brilliant.

    I thought that Laura B was over-horse and that Alf (Mistral) was barely under control, same with Parzival; He is very strong, hence so much hands to keep him under control!!!
    What I like about Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin is HOW relax their horses are!

    I am sorry I HATE Charlotte's music it does not do anything for me :-( I also thought that Valegro was less energic at the beginning, he was more impressive in the GP.
    But technically she is very good.

    I watched the British horse TV and Carl and Charlotte are always on show; You would be surprosed how competitive Charlotte is and how demanding Carl is!!! I was very impressed by the horse management; After breaking her first world record, Valegro had two week off hacking by his groom in HACKAMORE, he also goes in a paddock everyday; Perhaps it is why his horses are so relax they are horsely treated ;-)!!!

    Now for the coup de Grace, I just moved less than 2 hours drive from Carl Hester 's yard!! So I hope to be able to see them riding in the local show. I will report everything to you !!!

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    1. Well, I will say that for the freestyle I wasn't paying that close attention to the technical aspects. I do agree that the GP and GP Specials were so much better! I think all the horses (and riders) were so tired by the time the Freestyle rolled around.

      Alf did look strong, I noticed that. But I thought he looked more strong in the Freestyle than in the other tests, I wonder if he is a horse who gets strong when he's upset and tired? Parzival always looks strong, but his passage and piaffe are so brilliant. That's why he get's such high scores, in spite of the head and neck "issues".

      I didn't much care for Charlotte's music, either. It was not to my taste at all. But, I thought she rode to it well, well enough that it caught my attention. Not many freestyles do that! There was something so personal about it, and she rode it so beautifully. It was very moving, even though the music wasn't something I liked. And those pirouettes!

      I'm very jealous of your proximity to Mr. Hester. He is one of my idols. I love that he treats his horses like horses!

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  6. Unfortunately, I missed it. I thought I was supposed to get the extra NBC channels on cable TV, but I found out at 7:30 in the morning that this was not the case. Major bummer!

    I kind of find the music distracting, too. And truth be told, I like watching training better than a test, although I am blown away by how much endurance is required for the Grand Prix tests. Holy Mackerel, they are demanding. I can hardly believe that horse and rider are able to do all those elements back to back and well!

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    1. I like to watch training, too! There is much more to be learned from the training sessions than there is from the "pretty, perfect" shows!

      The Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special are incredibly demanding tests! I love to watch the horses navigate them. But, even more, I love to watch the riders ride them!

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  7. It was the best Olympic dressage I've ever seen or could imagine. Very moving. And how can you not like freestyles??? :)

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    1. I know, I know.... don't tell anybody! ;)

      I think it was the best Olympic dressage I've seen, too!

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