The Gold Medal Gift

What amazes me about Charlotte (Dujardin, in case you are not a horse person in the know) and Valegro is NOT all the gold, all the accolades, all the coolers and ribbons and the press. What amazes me is that DESPITE all of that they continue to rise to the top.

The gift that Carl Hester and Charlotte and Valegro have given us is the knowledge that consistent, fair, gymnastic training and a horse-friendly environment (field turnout and galloping included) can develop a horse to and perhaps beyond their potential. It goes beyond "happy" horses and straight to the knowledge that a happy horse is not a horse that you treat like a human nor is it a horse that responds like a robot. Our horses don't need the fanciest boots or the latest of this and that. They need hacking and galloping and only enough work in a ring to make them confident and obedient in the ring. Carl and Charlotte have given us the knowledge that a horse will give you everything they've got when you have made it possible for them to give it to you.

That is our gift from Valegro and Charlotte (and Carl) -- A program that is so simple that we all can all follow their example. We may not be lucky enough to find (or be able to ride, let's be honest) a Valegro, and we may not have the talent of Charlotte or Carl, but I know all of our horses would thrive and improve if we followed their example every day.

Seija Samoylenko