Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin at the CHIO Aachen: “I am delighted to be back here.”

The partner country of the CHIO Aachen 2023, Great Britain, not only stands out here at the Soers with its typical, British charm, its most successful dressage rider of all time will also be competing in the Deutsche Bank Stadium. For the first time since 2019, the three-time Olympic gold medallist, Charlotte Dujardin, will be participating at the Soers again this week. We spoke to the 37-year-old about her goals and found out how her young daughter, Isabella Rose, has changed her life.

Charlotte, you are back in Aachen for the first time again since 2019. How much are you looking forward to the next few days?

Immensely. It is always a huge honour and a privilege competing here in Aachen. The conditions are incredibly good, the atmosphere is really spectacular and the spectators who come here to support us athletes are simply unbelievable. I am so happy to be here again.


Great Britain is the partner country of the CHIO Aachen this year. How special is it to experience so much British flair on the grounds of the Aachen Soers?

It is fantastic. Experiencing Aachen in British look is simply wonderful. The Household Cavalry is here and we are all delighted that Princess Anne is also going to be present. Having all of that here in Aachen is something totally special and of course it makes my return after four years even nicer.


You have brought your World Championships horse, Imhotep, with you. What is he like?

Imhotep is still a very young horse. And even though he already took part in the World Championships last year, one mustn’t forget that he is only ten years old. He is my horse for the future. I have great hopes in him. He is making such great progress at the moment and is constantly gaining strength and expression. We recently achieved a score over the 80 percent mark for the first time, which shows how well he is developing.


What goals have you set yourself for the coming days?

I hope that we will be able to repeat our performances of the past weeks. But I don’t agree with putting oneself under pressure. I simply want to enjoy the time here. It is so important to have fun doing what one does. And I love what I do, that makes me very happy.


You already experienced what it feels like to win in Aachen when you won the Deutsche Bank Prize with Valegro in 2014. How motivated are you to have your name engraved on the legendary winners’ board again?

As an athlete one always wants to do as well as possible. And here in Aachen one especially dreams about achieving top placings. It is such a fantastic show. The best equestrian athletes compete here, from Europe and the entire world. Alongside championships it is always the highlight of the year for us riders. So everyone wants to head the field. Me too.


Your daughter Isabella Rose was born in March. How much has that changed your life?

Simply everything has changed. Now that I am a mother, my priorities have changed completely. My daughter is the luckiest thing that has ever happened to me. I love spending time with her so much. And I feel so established and so blessed to have my only little family now.


Your daughter and also your partner Dean Golding are here in Aachen with you…

Yes, of course. It is so special for me to have them here with me. Before I used to drive to a show and didn’t let myself get distracted by anything. I was completely focused. Now, I want to try and keep everything together. I would like to be the best mother for my daughter and at the same time still the athlete, who keeps astride with the world elite. Whereby it is not just about me, but about us as a family. I want to make them proud.


You will be returning to Aachen again later this year. You are namely giving your first masterclass in Germany at the CHIO Aachen CAMPUS in September. That is something very special for us. For you as well?

Yes, of course. I have already given masterclasses in many places all over the world, but never in Germany. I love explaining what I do, how I do it and I think it is interesting for people to see, how young horses develop up to Grand Prix level.


You have brought so many horses into the Grand Prix sport. What do you place special importance on in the training?

For me it is important to establish a partnership with the horse. That is also the reason why I love schooling young horses, because that is the only way to establish a very special connection with one’s sports partner. Over the course of time they become your best friends and learn to trust you entirely. For me it is an exciting journey with each horse anew and that is also what makes my work so special.

The three-time Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin (GBR). Photo: CHIO Aachen/Franziska Sack

The three-time Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin (GBR). Photo: CHIO Aachen/Franziska Sack