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The Girl on the Dancing Horse


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About the Author

Charlotte Dujardin is an elite British dressage rider, winner of three Olympic gold medals and a silver (London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016), European Champion, and World Champion, and holds all three World Records in the sport of dressage. Born in Enfield, England, Dujardin was brought up in Hertfordshire and started riding when she was two. By the age of 16 she had won the Horse of the Year Show competition four times, and her trainer at the time encouraged her to explore the sport of dressage. In February 2007, Dujardin had some lessons with British Olympian Carl Hester, and spotting her talent, he offered her a job as a groom. She was asked to bring along a young Dutch Warmblood gelding named Valegro with the intention that horse would eventually be ridden by Hester; however, after Hester and his co–owner awarded the ride on Valegro to Dujardin when their partnership and great potential became apparent, and so began the pair's meteoric rise. Along with her many medals and awards in the dressage arena, Dujardin was named BT Action Woman of the Year (2014), Sunday Times and Sky Sports Sportswoman of the Year (2014), and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (2017). Dujardin remains based at Hester's barn in Gloucestershire, England (www.charlottedujardin.co.uk).


"There has perhaps never been a dressage horse so famous and beloved as Valegro, nor a partnership so celebrated as the one he shared with Charlotte Dujardin during his years in the competition arena.

So when Dujardin published her journey from horse-crazed 3-year-old to the world's most famous horsewoman by age 30, I couldn't wait to crack its pages.

"The Girl on the Dancing Horse" doesn't disappoint. Dujardin shares the details of her life with honesty and humor, whether she's recounting standing on the podium as the first British rider ever to win double-gold Olympic dressage medals or desperately rushing around trying to get her dress altered before receiving the Reem Acra Best Athlete of the Year at the 2013 FEI Awards Gala. "It turned out what I needed was 'tit tape'-- apparently it's what the catwalk models use all the time," writes Dujardin. "You're literally stuck into your dress with double-sided sticky tape so you don't accidentally flash people."

Dujardin opens up about her relationship with her mother who got her started in the horse world on show ponies but had a hard time letting go of her role as horse show mom. She discusses her early days riding for Carl Hester, when she and her boyfriend were working so many hours they never saw one another, and they had to ask their parents to order them groceries online because they couldn't afford to buy them. She details the lows of nearly losing her fiance and Valegro just a few months after her Olympic victories.

The writing is informal and chatty but well edited. You won't garner many riding tips from reading it, but you will gain an appreciation for how even the most magical road to the top of the sport is paved with countless hours of hard work and a little good luck thrown in to fill the cracks."--UnTACKED

"The Girl on the Dancing Horse is a quick and enjoyable read, and should be on every equestrian's reading list regardless of discipline - Charlotte Dujardin's personal struggles are universally recognizable and her ability to conquer some of her struggles and come to terms with others is truly inspiring for all of us just trying to keep our horse lives and our real lives balanced."--Horse Nation
"The Girl on the Dancing Horse succeeds in the difficult exercise of bringing together Dujardin's sparkling athletic career and the ups and downs of her personal life...In writing her autobiography, Charlotte Dujardin wanted to inspire readers to believe in their dreams, and there is no doubt that message will be received." www.Grandprix-Replay.com
"Pony girls everywhere, including Sidelines reader Amelia Mae Pospishil, dream of growing up to be like Charlotte Dujardin, who rose to fame on her amazing horse Valegro. Charlotte's book The Girl on the Dancing Horse is a great read--for riders of all ages." --Sidelines Magazine
"The story is one of enchantment...Charlotte is very honest about how difficult life can be, especially when you are forced to conduct life at a fast speed in the limelight."--Catskill Horse
"Dressage is a highly skilled level of horseback riding in which horse and rider perform a series of predetermined movements in exhibition or competition. Dujardin is one of the world's most accomplished dressage competitors. She and her horse Valegro charmed the world with their performance at the London Olympics in 2012 and then again with a farewell performance at the London International Horse Show in 2016. Dujardin's autobiography is more than the story of her path to success. Readers get to know the feisty little girl who got frustrated because she was too small to saddle her own mount, the teen who struggled at school but had a singular rapport with even the most difficult horses, and the young woman who achieved her dreams at great emotional expense. Along the way, we meet several influential horses, coaches, and family members who mentored the author as she worked to achieve a spot on the British Olympic team. Dujardin's writing is down to earth and honest; her story is inspirational even for those who are not horse enthusiasts."--Library Journal
You've seen her prancing her way across the dressage ring aboard her beloved partner, Blueberry, and now you can read all about Charlotte Dujardin's journey to the top of the sport in The Girl on the Dancing Horse. An inside look on the dressage star's life from her start in riding, to her time cleaning Carl Hester's tack, to her humble introduction to Valegro, Dujardin brings you along and makes you feel like you are right there with her. BOTTOM LINE: If you shed a tear during Charlotte and Valegro's final Olympic performance like we did, then this book is a must read. --Equine Journal
"A wonderfully chatty, informal account of Charlotte's life, from growing up in the showing world to dazzling the world with the legendary Valegro... For anyone who has followed Charlotte and Valegro's journey and let's face it, who hasn't this refreshingly honest autobiography will prove a highly enjoyable, fascinating read." Horse & Hound Magazine
"Britain's greatest equestrian reveals how London Olympics success 'drove the man she loved away and sparked a battle with depression' and how she literally rode through it to victory at 2016 in Rio where her reconciled partner proposed." The Daily Mail

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