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Charlotte Dujardin From The Cheap Seats

March 21, 2017 5 min read

Around Christmas time, Katie and I decided that we had better get organised and buy tickets to see Charlotte Dujardin OBE, whom I personally like to think of as Charlotte Dujardin CDU - Commander of the Dressage Universe. We briefly considered tickets for the VET (very expensive ticket) section but since those tickets were going to be $USD which = $AUD??? we thought better of it and decided to just spend $AUD??? on a couple of cheap seats instead.

This turned out to be a great decision because it reminded me that one of the loveliest things about sitting in the cheap seats is that you never know whom you are going to sit next to. On this particular evening we had the unexpected pleasure of sitting next to Kate Pritchard Gordon and together we set about the very serious business of watching the Commander of the Dressage Universe basically show us all a bit of RAZZLE DAZZLE.

The first combination to enter the arena was Charlie Welsh riding Rubingold, a fancy chestnut gelding with exactly the kind of trot we all FETISHISE. Lithe, supple and athletic, this combination were not just glowing with youth, they were positively GLISTENING. Shiner than a Stephen Mowbray photograph, if this is the future of Australian dressage, it’s looking pretty bright. Now this is the best bit and it’s the bit I absolutely LOVE, Charlie borrowed Rubingold from her MUM. I know, huh? When I was growing up, sometimes, if I was really lucky, my Mum let me drive her Corolla. Oh what a feeling!SORRY, I LITERALLY COULDN’T HELP MYSELF. SO MUCH DRESSAGE HUMOUR RIGHT NOW.

If I was a serious journalist, I would proceed to write a factually correct report, accompanied by photos and possibly even some video. Since I’m not, and since I also promise faithfully that I did not take any photos nor did I take any video, I will say this instead A. Whilst watching Charlie Welsh and Rubingold, I enjoyed a lovely glass of Mumm. B. Rubingold has an international tail. C. Charlie Welsh had a really nice hairdo. Overall impression: Charlie w/ the good hair was very brave in the face of the crowds and the Commander of the Dressage Universe. ROUND OF APPLAUSE!! Okay, next horse.

It’s HB Rhodium ridden by Lizzie Wilson-Fellows. I have a little giggle to myself as I think - Australian bred horse ridden by IMPORTED rider. LOL. Now, I will tell you two things I know about Lizzie Wilson-Fellows, firstly, she loves Champagne and secondly, she loves HB Rhodium and upon this basis, I am quite certain we must have everything in common.

I sit and watch for a little bit as the Commander of the Dressage Universe puts them through their paces. I can’t help but admire HB Rhodium’s perfect quarter marks and his international tail. Hmmmmm, he’s really very round and brown and shiny and just all round delightful, with a big white blaze and four blingy white socks. He’s also frightfully well trained according to like, the actual training scale and I’m starting to feel a bit desperate to ride him. I watch some more and it dawns on me and OMG, I think there might be a new addition and DRUMROLL **HB Rhodium** WELCOME TO THE FANTASY STABLE! Okay, next horse.

It’s Raining Men!I hear some of the ladies in the audience start to twitter. I look around and see someone reaching for their smelling salts. God bless Mother Nature, she’s a single woman too!Jayden Brown and the charismatic and divine stallion, Legend of Loxley have entered the ring. Now, at this particular moment, I perk right up because one of my absolute favourite things to do, is stalk Flame’s fancy relations and Legend of Loxley just happens to be the Baby Daddy of Flame’s sister, Sugarloaf LaNouk. I realise I am digressing, but it’s my blog and it’s free so for a moment, I just want to like, CELEBRATE WOMEN and celebrate a FELLOW MUM so here goes. Hayley Gilbert had her second baby approximately 5 minutes ago and this weekend she is competing Sugarloaf LaNouk at Dressage and Jumping With The Stars and having been pregnant and having had a baby, I realise that is no small feat so WHOOP WHOOP, GO HAYLEY AND LANOUK, YOU CAN DO IT! Ok, next horse.

Wait, Ermergerrrrred, what is this I see? No, it couldn’t be, could it? Is this an APPARITION? I take a moment to pinch myself and then I realise that I am indeed awake and this is indeed an Australian rider, riding an Australian bred horse. At this point, I momentarily restrain myself from jumping up and down in the stands and hollering and cheering like a crazy person.

Abbie O’Brien is from Tasmania and in case you have forgotten, TASMANIA IS PART OF AUSTRALIA. Now, I don’t know Abbie, but I can tell you that I’ve never met a Tassie chick I didn’t like. I’ll tell you what else I like, and that’s handy horses. Abbie is sitting on one right now. 

What’s the take home from all of this? Abbie has had this horse since he was 4 years old and is from Tassie and has trained him all the way through herself and now here she is riding in front of two thousand plus people before the Commander of the Dressage Universe and this is the most exciting, splendiferous, wonderful thing I have seen all night. THE END.

Oops, not the end. A hush descends upon the crowd as Mary Hanna rides in and we all behold the equine gloriousness that is Calanta. Like a cat on a hot tin roof, her feet hardly seem to touch the ground. This horse is so animated, it’s as though she’s in perpetual motion. Her natural tempo is so captivating, that to be honest, I’m not entirely sure she is real, but I’ll have to suspend my disbelief because I wouldn’t dare pinch her to find out. 

Then finally, the moment we have all been waiting for. The Commander of the Dressage Universe marches across the arena and because she is gifted with super powers not bestowed upon us mere mortals, she LEVITATES onto Calanta. I swear that TOTES HAPPENED. Calanta takes off into the sunset like some mythical Pegasus and in my head, I begin to break down the magical powers that make the Commander of the Dressage Universe the 100% best rider in the world. My summation is as follows;

50% balance which = 0% impediment to the balance of the horse. FLY glorious animal FLY!

25% timing

20% fearlessness

5% maaaaaagic

Oh and also, Carl Hester.

The Commander of the Dressage Universe and Calanta are like a shooting star, a mesmerising flash of BRILLIANCE and we all sit, squinting and straining our eyes, trying to catch one last glimpse, as darkness descends and they vanish from sight.