Published: 00:01, 26 March 2017
A treble gold medal-winning Olympic dressage rider has had her noble steed immortalised in the form of a rocking horse.
Charlotte Dujardin CBE rode her horse Valegro to become Britain’s most successful dressage duo with medals and world records.
But Valegro retired from competition in December last year, so her fiance Dean Golding wanted to create something to mark the occasion.
He commissioned Bethersden rocking horse maker Marc Stevenson to create a surprise for Charlotte which can remind her of Valegro forever.
Mr Stevenson said: “This was a real honour for our team, to be able to make a copy of the world’s most famous dressage horse for the most famous dressage rider has been really exciting to be involved with.”
Stevenson Brothers in Bethersden crafted the new rocking horse, which has painstakingly included every detail of Valegro’s markings.
The work to make the rocking horse was completed along with help from Valegro’s owners and head groom, Ms Dujardin’s own team, Valegro’s photographer, Italian firm Equipe which made the tack, and saddle cloth maker Robert Lemieux from Horse Health.
Mr Golding said: “I fell in love with the rocking horse as soon as I saw it, I almost cried myself.”
Ms Dujdardin was presented with the horse before the International Horse Show at Olympia in December last year, to coincide with Valegro’s retirement and farewell ceremony.
The video of her receiving the horse reaching almost a million people and has been shared widely on the company’s Facebook page.
The video also shows how the rocking horse was made, from start to finish, and includes an interview with Ms Dujardin.
She said: “It was one of the best surprises to receive such an amazing rocking horse. To have something like that is so special.
“To have it for my family to pass down, and for my kids hopefully one day to have a go on. Watching my kids on this rocking horse will be a very special moment.”
To find out more about Stevenson Brothers visit www.stevensonbros.com
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