Photo credit: FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst/Poolpic
PONY reveals the secrets of the superhorse! We asked Valegro’s owner, Carl Hester, and groom, Alan Davies, some questions about the champion horse everyone is talking about…
Valegro is ridden by British dressage star, Charlotte Dujardin. The unbeatable pair are not only Olympic champions, having won individual gold medals at the London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics, but they also hold all three world records in dressage. Talk about superstars!
Valegro fact file
Stable name: Blueberry
Breed: Dutch Warmblood
Age: He was born in 2002, making him 14 years old
Mum and dad: Maifleur and Negro
What was Valegro like when you got him?
He was very forward-going when he was a youngster and very keen! But he was always willing to learn, so it was great fun working with him from the beginning.
Did you have a feeling from the beginning that he was going to be a star?
Right from the start, Valegro always gave the impression of being a champion. Then he started winning everything we entered him in, so it quickly became obvious that he was destined for great things!
Did you know? Valegro is quite the jetsetter! He’s visited 10 different countries while competing, including Brazil and the USA, and lots of countries in Europe such as Spain, Germany, Austria and Sweden!
What’s Valegro’s favourite snack?
Definitely sugar cubes. He’ll go anywhere or do anything for them!
Does he have a fave dressage move?
He really enjoys doing one-time changes (where he performs flying changes without any canter strides in-between, so it appears as though he’s skipping from one leg to the other). Luckily, he’s very good at them, too!
Who’s his best friend?
His groom, Alan! They spend every day together and go everywhere with each other. Alan loves making sure all of Valegro’s needs are met and that he’s always happy. After all the adventures they’ve had together, they’ll always be best friends.
What would you say are Valegro’s three best personality traits?
Number one is that he’s an extremely kind horse. He’s everyone’s friend and doesn’t have a nasty bone in him. Secondly, he’s strong – he has to cope with lots of different scenarios being a celeb horse and with all the travelling he does, but he takes it in his stride. Finally, he’s very generous – he always gives his all.
Photo credit: Jon Stroud
If Valegro were a human celebrity, who would he be and why?
He’d probably be the ex-England rugby player, Jonny Wilkinson, because he’s strong and handsome on the outside, but underneath he’s gentle and kind.
Has he ever jumped?
He did jump as a youngster and loved it! He hasn’t jumped in quite a long time now, though.
Is Valegro scared of anything?
He’s been with us for many years now and hasn’t shown signs of being scared of anything! He’s a very bold and brave horse.
Does anyone other than Alan ever look after him?
No! Alan is quite particular and won’t let anyone else look after him. Valegro and Alan know each other inside out, so it works well that way.
Does Valegro have different tack for different occasions?
Surprisingly, he doesn’t have loads and loads of tack. He does have a few different bridles for different occasions, though – he has a snaffle bridle for hacking and schooling at home, a double bridle for competitions and a special bridle that he only wears for the trot-up at international shows.
How does he cope with being a celebrity horse?
To be honest, he’s not that interested in celebrity life! He’s so chilled out that he’d much rather munch on grass and roll in his field than get loads of attention!
Does he do any unusual activities?
He really likes to go on the water treadmill! He loves splashing around and playing in the water. Plus, it’s great exercise for him and doesn’t cause any stress to his legs.
Did you know? Valegro has a full brother named Lelegro and a full sister named Weidyfleur II. Cute!