Moorlands Bodyguard has a new rider, none other than double Olympic gold medalist, Charlotte Dujardin.
Charlotte Dujardin OBE who is based by Carl Hester, was born in Enfield and started riding when she was two years old. In the first years she show jumped and was very successful, winning at the Horse of the Year Show and Hickstead on many occasions, but later she decided dressage was what she wanted to do.
In the spring of 2007 she sought employment by Carl Hester, and fortunately he spotted her talent and she joined his yard in Newent, Gloucestershire.
Here, she was given the ride on a relatively novice Dutch Warmblood gelding called Valegro, and a couple of years later, after competing successfully with him in her first Grand Prix, she was selected for the British team who won the Gold at the European Championships in Rotterdam in 2011.
In 2012 the combination then won team and individual gold at the London Olympic Games.
Moorlands Bodyguard is an impressive looking 7 year old son of Gribaldi out of a daughter of the stallion Negro, and is a KWPN graded stallion. By chance, Valegro’s father is Negro, who is a son of the successful Grand Prix stallion Ferro.
I got to know Bodyguard when a good friend of mine, Peter van de Sande, bought him as a yearling.
Peter always has a very good eye for a horse, especially with young stock. I think it’s very difficult for many people to judge a foal or yearling, and see it’s potential, but Peter has proved time and time again, that he is very successful in doing so.
When Bodyguard was three years old he was presented at the KWPN stallion grading, and after the 70 day test he was approved as a KWPN stallion. Bodyguard was in fact the first son of Gribaldi to be graded by the KWPN in the normal procedure, which includes careful selection, followed by a 70 or 50 day assessment programme . Totilas and Painted Black, both graded sons of Gribaldi, were certified on their competition successes.
When Bodyguard was graded, the owner of Totilas bought a share in him and he eventually ended up with Edward Gal, possibly hoping he’d become a second Totilas.
In 2012, due to change of plans, Bodyguard returned to Peter van de Sande’s yard, and continued his training there. I saw him many times, and he’s one of those horses that is so beautiful, you could imagine that at some point someone will want to make a painting or sculpture of him.
Now Moorlands Bodyguard is in the UK with a lady called Lara Dyson, and Charlotte is his new rider. For me, this is great news, and I’m sure that we’ll see plenty of this combination in the future.
Bodyguard is also used for stud purposes, and I have seen a lot of his progeny in Holland and have been quite impressed by many of his babies.
Let’s hope that Charlotte and her new ride have a lot of success and hope she’ll be well looked after by her “Bodyguard”!
Here’s a short clip of Bodyguard when he was six years old