It was a two-day clash of the titans as we were treated to a spectacular showdown at theEuropean Championship in the Grand Prix Team competition, with Britain bringing home the title. Germany followed on second as Denmark took bronze.
With 82.422 percent, Charlotte Dujardin and Imhotep had taken the lead, upon which Charlotte Dujardin commented: "At the end I was really, really emotional! Maybe because I'm a mother now. That's what Dressage is all about: riding in there, feeling it and riding the test from start to finish."
The only ones who could top that today were Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB, who recorded a new personal best with 84.612 percent. She took it in her stride that it still wasn't enough for gold: "Everyone rode super! More was not possible here today. We can't do more than our best. The British are just abnormally strong."
Because in addition to Charlotte Dujardin, there were also the double World Champions Charlotte Fry and Glamourdale, who did not have their best day today ("I think he had a bit of a stallion show vibe"), but despite faults, still came third with 81.258 percent. Can World Championship individual gold can be joined by European Championship individual gold? "You never know."
After all, Carl Hester is also the trainer of two of his teammates (Charlotte Dujardin and Gareth Hughes) and once again pulled a medal horse out of the hat with the 13-year-old Fame. His student Fiona Bigwood owns the stallion ("But he doesn't know he's a stallion," Hester said), but didn't have enough time for him and asked Carl if he wanted to ride him. That was in the spring. Now the pair are European team champions and were fifth in the individual standings with 78.540 percent, also a Personal Best.
Pair number four of the team was Gareth Hughes and his reliable Classic Briolinca, now 17-years-old. After silver at the 2022 World Championships, it was the second team medal for the pair and the first gold. What does it mean to him? Gareth Hughes almost had tears in his eyes when he described what an honour it was for him to be able to ride in this team. He himself had put in a solid score of 74.565 percent, which put him in twelfth place.
The last time the British had won European Championship gold was in Rotterdam in 2011. It was Charlotte Dujardin's first championship. A year later, God Save the Queen (at that time) rang out at the London Olympics. A good omen for the Olympic Games in Paris. What is the goal there? Charlotte Dujardin said: "Gold!". But Jessica von Bredow-Werndl counters: "Our goal is to be stronger next year."