Looking to BUY or SELL a horse? Check out our Performance, Pleasure & Life After Racing Horse Classifieds

Listen to the latest episode of the Equestrian Hub Podcast

Behind the Shot: Charlotte Dujardin

One of Australia’s top equestrian photographers, MICHELLE TERLATO travels the world capturing equestrian athletes in action. Each month she shares one of her favourite shots. 


Behind the shot

Rider: Charlotte Dujardin

Horse: Valegro

Event: 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games

Location: Normandy, France

Camera & Settings: Canon EOS 7D, Canon EF 70-200mm, ISO 320 f 5.6 1/1250 sec

Challenges: Coming into the finals of the dressage, expectations on Charlotte and Valegro were very high and so every photographer was eager to capture their performance. It was therefore very busy in the moat around the dressage arena and some photographers were doing frowned upon things like running around while other dressage tests were being performed. Accordingly, the photo manager was very strict, making it clear to all of us that you could not move an eyelash while tests were on. This is totally understandable but it makes it hard to decide on the perfect spot to stand and stay. So the choice I made was to go slightly on an angle as opposed to side on, and I captured one of my all-time classic images and also one of my most popular sellers. It manages to capture Charlotte’s focus and Valegro’s fabulous movement while being framed by the foliage, the beautiful red geraniums in the bottom right that balance out the bright red of the stadium steps, and the fabulous enthralled crowd.

Why this shot is special: This image is very special to me (in fact the print is on my wall at home) as it was the first international event I had attended and photographed. The whole experience was a huge learning curve. To see riders such as Isabel Werth, Carl Hester, Marcus Ehning, Beezie Madden and Boyd Exell, as well as this superstar pair from the London Olympics was mind blowing. Valegro, who is arguably one of the greatest dressage horses of all time, claimed two individual gold medals with Charlotte in the Special and Freestyle (92.161%) events, as well as a team silver for the UK. Charlotte then went on to be crowned 2014 Sportswoman of the Year. She was the first rider in history to hold all the major titles in dressage in one year (a grand slam). To say they were unrivalled superstars of the sport is almost an understatement. I feel so lucky and privileged to have seen them compete together winning gold medals, and to have this special memory of Valegro who is now retired.