Even in retirement, Valegro keeps on raising the bar. Literally.
Some people see retirement as the opportunity to take up a brand-new hobby, and it looks like someone else might be thinking along the same lines. This Facebook post from Charlotte Dujardin made the social media rounds this morning:
Yes, that IS Valegro, known around the barn as Blueberry!
Arguably the world’s greatest modern dressage horse, Valegro was retired last year at the age of 15 after essentially proving that there was almost nothing in the dressage world he couldn’t win from Olympic gold medals to world-record-setting performances all over the world.
Dujardin and trainer Carl Hester have always put the horse first in Hester’s training program, keeping the horses fresh through things like cross-training and plenty of turnout time on pasture. This photo proves many things: first of all, that cross-training is valuable for any discipline, even if a horse is retired; second of all, an athlete will likely be an athlete in multiple disciplines!
Hester told Horse & Hound, a UK-based equestrian publication, that Valegro was not taking up jumping competitively… but the horse did jump a bit as a five- and six-year-old and clearly does enjoy it, regardless of what saddle is on his back. It appears that while Horse & Hound’s April Fool’s Day joke about Valegro taking up eventing wasn’t necessarily as left-field as we might have thought, it wasn’t quite prophetic.
Happy retirement, Valegro, and keep on broadening those horizons! Go riding.