Eight months ago, former world no. 1 Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) took a hiatus from competition while pregnant with her first child.
In March, she and partner Dean Golding welcomed a baby girl, Isabella.
Three weeks ago, the joint-most decorated British female Olympian got back in the tack and on Wednesday, she logged her first international win of the year. As one does two months postpartum.
Making her unplanned return to dressage at Royal Windsor Horse Show, Dujardin and Imhotep topped The Defender CDI4* FEI Dressage Grand Prix on Wednesday, the standalone class for the first day of the Show’s 80th year.
Twelve pairs contested the Grand Prix, including three of the four British FEI World Championship squad who claimed team silver in Herning last summer.
Third to go, Dujardin took an early lead after she and the expressive 10-year-old chestnut gelding produced an elastic test to score 77.261%.
“I haven’t competed for eight months, and Pete [Imhotep] hasn’t done a competition since the FEI World Championships. I have only been back riding for three weeks—so I was worried I would be a bit ring rusty. But he was incredible and was so positive with his energy. There are still areas that we can improve on, which is exciting,” said the new mother.
“I got on thinking, can I still do it? Have I still got it? And I got on and I was like, yeah, I can!“
Come Thursday, the pair doubled down on their winning ways in The Defender CDI4* FEI Dressage Freestyle, scoring 83.200% with an athletic and fluid performance. Dujardin’s also won both classes in 2019, the last time international dressage was held at Windsor Castle.
“I was so excited to come here, it was really not in my schedule to rush back after having my daughter, but I got on and felt really good. I absolutely love this show, so here I am!” said Dujardin.
Next on her summer plans: the FEI European Championships.