Charlotte Fry is ready for a return to the major championship stage after a medal-winning Tokyo Olympics experience confirmed her status as British dressage’s rising star.
Not since Charlotte Dujardin won the first of her 20 Olympic, European and world championship medals in Rotterdam 12 years ago has so much excitement surrounded a British rider.
At 26, Fry has an Olympic team bronze medal in the bag, having joined Dujardin and Carl Hester on the podium last summer.
And she now turns her attention to the FEI World Championship in Herning, Denmark, which starts on Saturday, and will see her in action alongside Dujardin, Gareth Hughes and, poignantly, 66-year-old Richard Davison.
Britain won a first major dressage medal of any description at the 1993 Europeans in Slovenia, when Davison’s colleagues included Fry’s mother Laura.
Laura, who also competed in the Barcelona Olympics 30 years ago, died of breast cancer, aged 45, barely six weeks after London 2012.
“It is really special to be able to ride on a team with Richard,” Fry told the PA news agency.
“It has helped me a lot being on such an experienced team with Carl and Charlotte, who have done it many times before, and now Richard and Gareth.
“My trainer (Anne van Olst) has done five Olympics, so I have had so much experience and support around me.”
Fry’s performance in Tokyo made a wider audience sit up and take notice of the Scarborough-born talent, who moved to Holland nine years ago, being based with Van Olst in Den Hout, around 30 miles from Rotterdam.
“I took a lot out of Tokyo. The whole experience was incredible,” Fry added. “Even though there was no crowd, there was still so much atmosphere.
“I didn’t really think about it until I was going down my first centre-line on my first test, and I thought ‘oh my goodness, I am at an Olympics, I had better make this good!’.”
Dujardin, Olympic champion in London and Rio, spearheads the British challenge at Herning’s MCH Arena – home of Danish Superliga club FC Midtjylland – aboard nine-year-old Imhotep.
Fry, meanwhile, rides Glamourdale, a former seven-year-old world champion, with bumper crowds expected throughout four days of competition that feature the team event, individual grand prix special and individual freestyle.
“Preparations have gone very well. Everything is on track, and hopefully we will be ready to peak next week,” Fry said.
“Glamourdale is an amazing horse. Everything he attempts, he over-achieves, and when he is in front of a crowd he really shows off.
“He has a presence, he is a real showman and he wants everyone to be looking at him. When he goes into a packed stadium he just rises to it.
“We have two young horses – Glamourdale and Imhotep – while Gareth’s horse is very experienced, as is Richard’s.
“There is so much potential in our team, that is for sure, and we have been working for this since the Olympics and Europeans last year.”
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