British dressage star Charlotte Dujardin has sold Gio, the 10-year old KWPN gelding by Apache she owned in partnership with Renai Hart (NZL). The pair have been together since 2016 when he was purchased and moved to Carl Hester’s barn where Dujardin trained him to grand prix level. They scored a whopping 79.56% in their Grand Prix debut in January of 2020 and the little chestnut continued to improve, ultimately being declared for the Tokyo Olympics after Dujardin’s main ride, Mount St. John Freestyle, was declared unfit to compete.

Good performances at the Tokyo Olympics earned the pair individual and team bronze; they went on to the European Championships in Hagen, snagging a silver and bronze.

Dujardin remarked on her Facebook page:

Charlotte and Annabella with Pumpkin. (Charlotte Dujardin Facebook)

“It’s with bittersweet emotions that I can tell you that the wonderful Pumpkin is now owned by Junior rider, Annabella Pidgley.

As many of you know who own horses, run yards and compete, this is certainly not a sport for the faint hearted and comes with many highs and many lows; horses being the incredible levellers that they are. In order to maintain a position in sport, especially in high level sport, at times, these difficult decisions need to be made. I am so thankful that I do not have to do this regularly, as it is always such a hard thing to let go of animals that we see as our family.

The wonderful thing about this, is Pumpkin will continue his journey under the British flag with a rider and family who I have known for many years. Annabella is one of the most promising riders in our country, and works so hard to develop herself and her horses, whilst giving them nothing but five star care. I will train the pairing, so I am delighted that our precious Pumpkin will stay in my life and I will still see him on a regular basis.”

Pidgley has had a very successful 2021 season, winning Britain’s first individual medals at the Junior European Championship. She is the daughter to the late Tony Pidgley, a British house construction industry magnate, and Gio will be added to an already impressive stable of talent including Sultans des Paluds, Dibert L, Belafonte, Hilus MBH, Vamos Amigos and Espe. She is trained by Danish rider Cathrine Dufour who recently won the first leg of the Dressage World Cup Western European League on home ground at Herning. Gio’s progression will also be supervised by Dujardin, who has indicated that her own plans going forward include aiming the 8-year old KWPN gelding Imhotep toward the Grand Prix ranks and hopefully the 2024 Paris Olympics.