‘This is not a sport for the faint hearted’ Charlotte Dujardin’s parting words as she announces shock sale of Gio

Charlotte Dujardin and Gio (FEI/Christophe Taniere)
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‘This is not a sport for the faint hearted’ Charlotte Dujardin’s parting words as she announces shock sale of Gio

Charlotte Dujardin has announced her Tokyo Olympic ride, Gio has been sold.

The 2011 KWPN Apache x Tango gelding, known as Pumpkin at home, has been sold to 16-year-old British Junior Dressage rider Annabella Pidgley, daughter of Tony Pidgley, avid equestrian and benefactor of the sport who sadly passed away in 2020.   

An emotional Charlotte took to social media to announce the unexpected yet “bittersweet” news:

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

Whilst Charlotte has not given a definitive reason behind the sale, poignant wording in her official announcement may hint towards why the decision was made:

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 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 have to be made.”

However, it’s not a final farewell as Annabella and Gio will be coached by Charlotte, alongside Danish Olympian Cathrine Dufour. Promising only to do what’s best for the horse while making her family proud, Annabella’s Instagram post read:

It’s with excitement that I can say that my family have acquired the beautiful Pumpkin (Gio) owned by Charlotte Dujardin. To say this is a huge privilege for me is an understatement, and I know this is such an honour for me to take the reins of such an iconic little horse. I can only say that under the training of both Cathrine Dufour and Charlotte, I will work every day to do my best by him, bond with him and keep him in the manner he is used to. I have to say a special thank you to my family for the support and belief in this; I would not be where I am without your love, support and guidance and will always strive to make you and my late father proud.

Said Annabella,

I have really fallen for this special horse and look forward to campaigning him in the years to come. Thank you to Charlotte and Renai for trusting me with your special boy; it means the world to us all, and I look forward to sharing this next chapter with you.” 

Charlotte bought Gio as a five-year-old from Amelie Kovacthe when the chestnut was drafted in as a replacement ride for a demonstration she was holding in Los Angeles. A few minutes after their initial meet, Charlotte reportedly asked for a test drive and price for the compact 16hh gelding. Gio’s potential was quickly realised. Partnering with Renai Hart for the ownership, she sealed the deal before flying him home to the UK.

Under the saddle of Charlotte, Gio has undoubtedly showcased his talent and capabilities in a relatively short period of time. With only a handful of international level Grand Prix tests completed, the decision to take Gio to the olympics was made after Mount St John Freestyle was deemed unfit to compete. As expected, during their time in Tokyo, the pairing rose to the occasion in spectacular style, earning individual and team bronze medals for Great Britain.

With over 24k followers on Instagram, Annabella will undoubtedly help keep Gio in the public eye as this exciting new partnership embarks on a journey where the sky will indeed be the limit.

Feature image: Charlotte Dujardin and Gio (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

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