Olympic dressage champion Laudrup Dufour: hurdles to three titles

Vamos Amigos sit happily in his bed full of shavings, enjoying the manicure and looking among the riders at his rider with big wet eyes. How good is the existence of social media, otherwise the world would not know all this. Ten-year-old Gulf eunuch loves it at the site of his potential victory, and contestant Catherine Laudrup-Dufour points out with video excerpts.

Winning requires happy horses, among whom the 30-year-old is fully convinced he is the favorite in the world championships that begins on Saturday. A short, rhythmic, easy training sequence should show that Laudrup Dufour and Vamos Amigos are ready to win three World Championship titles. There are plenty out there, one with the Danish team, the two singles championships in the Grand Prix Special, and the music freeestyle.

The Dane returned unbeaten from CHIO Aachen with her horses (plus Vamos Amigos, the 12-year-old Bohemian Olympic horse) – five runs, five victories, even the Germans, accustomed to winning, were rarely able to do so. They will find it difficult to repeat past victories in this World Cup. Four horses that have won scores over 80 percent in recent years are not (or are no longer) listed, nor are any of the horses that won Olympic gold in Tokyo in 2021.

In the World Cup, Laudrup Dufour can take advantage of the fact that the Germans are busy with other things

Olympic champion Jessica von Prideaux-Werendl is expecting her second child in these weeks, and Trakner Marie Dallera does little to no exercise. Weihegold and Bella Rose have retired from Isabell Werth – and hardly anyone would believe that Quantaz’s successors were capable of similar feats. Showtime Olympic Champion Dorothy Schneider was injured twice again, the contestant with Faustus being only in reserve.

Instead, three newcomers are riding, Ingrid Klimeck with Franciscus, who previously only had experience in the Juvenile Championship, Benjamin Werndel with Famuso and Frederick Andres with the Duke of Britain. Monica Theodorescu, coach of the national team, makes it easy, saying: “This is a sport, and if others are better this time, then this is exactly the case. We focus on ourselves.”

Catherine Laudrup Dufour sat on the saddle for the first time at the age of five, at twelve she began riding her pony in tournaments and at one point came the horse that made her to the top in the sport. Many knights’ biographies begin this way or similar. The horse to whom Laudrup Dufour owes her international promotion is called Cassidy, is 19 and will be giving a farewell party at Herning. The beautiful fox was initially considered difficult and not overly talented.

“It wouldn’t be a grand prix,” said Andreas Helgestrand, then-trainer of Laudrup Dufour and today one of the biggest horse dealers and stallion owners on the scene. was wrong. With Cassidy, Laudrup Dufour became the two-time European Young Rider Champion, winning her first medal in the Seniors, and EM bronze in 2017 and 2019 – and the judges started noticing it as the stylish pair entered the ring. Cassidy taught her to appreciate what her intention has been with any horses she chooses ever since.

“He always gives more than he really can,” she says. The desire to perform, the desire to train is the most important thing in a horse, the desire to move forward. She does not like lazy horses. Even her students, many of whom she trains now, have to be “curious and hard-working”. Same goes for Laudrup-Dufour herself, you can watch her daily fitness workout when she sits balanced with body tension in the saddle. She also opened her eyes to what she demands from her sports partner.

She says the trail is like push-ups or weightlifting for a horse. Recovery takes strength and time. That is why Laudrup-Dufour compete less often than many of their competitors. However, it reached the second and third positions in the world rankings with Bohemian and Vamos Amigos. Olympic champion Jessica von Prideaux Werndel still takes first place with Dallira. In November 2021, Laudrup Dufour married Rasmin Laudrup, the daughter of former Bayern Munich footballer Brian Laudrup. Since then the double name.

The couple lives with about 20 horses in the small town of Grønholt near Copenhagen. Former Olympic cyclists Natalie zu Sayn Wittgenstein and Keira Kirklund come here for training and advice. These are the best days of Katherine Landrup Dufour. “I don’t do all this for tournaments, I love my day job, it’s more love for horses and animals.” This looks good. And if you win some medals, that’s even better.

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