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As a record-setting Olympic dressage champion, Valegro is royalty in the horse world. We will be sharing 8 things you didn’t know about Valegro that might surprise you.
Born on July 5, 2002, Valegro is a Dutch Warmblood gelding who stands 16.2 hands tall. He is a famous dressage horse that quickly rose to fame and dominated the dressage world.
|Height:||16.2 hh (164 cm)|
|Owners:||Carl Hester, Rowena Luard, Anne Barrott|
Among Valegro’s many accomplishments, he has won several gold medals at the World Cup Finals, World Equestrian Games, European Dressage Championships, and Olympics.
In 2014, he made history with his rider Charlotte Dujardin at the London FEI World Cup. Representing Great Britain, the pair scored 94.3% on the freestyle round, which is the highest score ever given in the history of dressage.
After a spectacular career, Valegro retired on December 14, 2016, going down as one of the most accomplished horses in the world.
Here are eight interesting facts about Valegro:
Valegro’s Stable Name is Blueberry
Though to the world he is known as Valegro, those close to him know him as Blueberry. He got his stable name, Blueberry, when he was among several young horses that came from Holland to the United Kingdom.
Owner Carl Hester named all the horses after fruits and vegetables and Blueberry just stuck with the gorgeous dark bay gelding.
Valegro Has Met the Queen
An honor that is only extended to a lucky few, Valegro got to meet the Queen at the 2019 Royal Windsor Show.
Valegro was a true gentleman in front of the Queen, standing perfectly still while everyone was talking. The Queen complimented him and expressed her love for the superstar dressage horse.
A Team of People Love and Care for Valegro
It takes a team to maintain such a legendary horse. In fact, Valegro has three owners: Carl Hester, Rowena Luard, and Anne Barrott.
He resides at Carl Hester’s stable, who trained the champion from a young age. During his career, Valegro was ridden by the talented Charlotte Dujardin.
As a decorated equestrian, Dujardin was the youngest member of the British dressage team at the 2012 Olympics, where she and Valegro brought home two gold medals. Throughout Valegro’s career, Alan Davies has worked as his groom.
Valegro is the Star of Several Books
Valegro is a focal point in Charlotte Dujardin’s autobiography The Girl in the Dancing Horse where she chronicles her incredible journey to stardom as a dressage rider.
Valegro also has his own book Valegro: Champion Horse that features details on his life, with extraordinary photos showing his remarkable beauty and talent.
In addition, Valegro has his own children series, The Blueberry Stories, about his incredible journey on becoming a dressage legend.
Valegro Helps Bring Joy to Sick Children
In his retired days, he has made the dreams come true of many children with illnesses. Throughout his charity work, sick children have met him, with a few lucky kids getting to sit on his back.
Valegro partnered with Willberry Wonder Pony charity- Willberry Wishes to help make children’s wishes come reality.
Valegro Was Bought for Only €5,000
Though he is now valued at much more, Valegro was bought by Carl Hester for only €5,000 (around $5,900). Hester had spotted the colt, who was then owned by Gert Jan van Olst, and saw the potential he had.
Once he was gelded, Valegro came to the United Kingdom, where Rowena Luard and Anne Barrott eventually became owners as well.
Valegro Loves to Go Hacking
Though he is retired from competing, Valegro still gets worked several times a week. One of his favorite activities is to go hacking, where he loves to take snack breaks along the way, munching on grass and hedges.
Among those who hack with him is former dressage Olympian Tricia Gardiner, who is 85 years old.
Valegro Has a Street Named After Him
Valegro celebrity status has not gone overlooked by those outside the dressage world. He has his own street, Valegro Avenue, in Newent where he resides. In addition, the town is also getting a bronze statue made of this truly special horse.
Here is a video of Charlotte and Valegro’s last performance:
How Much is Valegro Worth?
Valegro is worth an estimated £6 million (approximately $7.7 million). However, despite offers made to buy him overseas, his owners deem him too valuable to sell.
Is Valegro Still Alive?
Yes, Valegro is still alive at age 18. Though he may be retired from competing, he still does lessons twice a week and goes for regular hacks, as he is in great shape.
What Has Happened to Valegro After Retiring?
After retiring in 2016 at the age of 14, Valegro still resides with owner Chris Hester at Oaklebrook Hill. He is very well-loved and still gets ridden regularly.
What Does Valegro Mean?
It is believed that the name Valegro means gift of gold. Valegro got his name because it needed to begin with a V.
Which is the Best Dressage Horse Ever?
Though there have been some outstanding dressage horses throughout history, many consider Valegro to be the most famous dressage horse ever.
From his many gold medals, including three Olympic gold, to holding the record for the highest dressage score ever, it is fair to say Valegro just may be the best dressage horse ever.
Also, read our guide to Charlotte Dujardin.