Mum's pride at golden girl Olympian Charlotte Dujardin
Wearing specially-made Charlotte T-shirts and nervously huddled around the kitchen table, the Dujardins collectively held their breath '“ but their golden girl did it again.
Charlotte Dujardin, who grew up in Finmere and first learned dressage in Great Horwood, won Olympic gold for the third time – her fourth medal in total.
Riding Valegro, the 31-year-old’s near-flawless routine in Rio meant she retained the individual dressage title she won at London 2012.
It took her joint-top, with Laura Trott, as our most decorated female Olympian.
But mum Jane, who still lives in Finmere with husband Ian, said Charlotte has always been very grounded and sometimes needed a nudge as a teenager.
“We went to the stables in Great Horwood one day and someone asked Charlotte: ‘What are your ambitions?’
“She just stood there so I said: ‘Erm Charlotte, come on, it’s to win Olympic gold’. Little did she know that it would actually happen.
“I always knew she would do it. It was just needing to be in the right place at the right time.”
Jane gathered son Charles, who lives in Maids Moreton, and daughter Emma-Jayne, who lives in Tingewick, at their Finmere home.
“We all huddled around the TV in the kitchen. I’m not sure many of us were breathing at the time she was performing but it was amazing,” Jane said.
They FaceTimed Charlotte after the gold-clinching performance and went out for dinner to celebrate.
Armed with bottles of bubbly, the Dujardins were due to surprise Charlotte at her Gloucester home yesterday.
“This time there was more pressure, Jane said. “And I know she really felt it because the expectation was high – she hates to let anyone down.”
There is a further celebration on the cards for Charlotte, after fiancé Dean Wyatt Golding recently got down on one knee.
He even sellotaped a ‘can we get married now?’ note to his T-shirt as he watched from the stands on Monday. Although, Jane joked that Dean might have his work cut out finding a date.
“I’m not holding my breath for that one,” she said. “I know what Charlotte is like – she will put it (the wedding) off if a competition is coming up.”
Jane, who runs the Mucky Rugs Wash Company, recalls holding her breath as a passenger in Charlotte’s Vauxhall Corsa when she was learning to drive.
“I had many a grey-hair moment in the car with her,” said Jane, who would anxiously grip the door handle when Charlotte drove to dressage training in Great Horwood.
But after struggling to control the car, Charlotte went on to become a supreme controller of a dancing horse.
She has been described as the most dominant dressage rider of her era and she has been overwhelmed by the support she receives.
Jane said: “Charlotte’s got a Facebook group and all the comments on there are from people saying they’ve been inspired by what she has done.
“Anything is possible if you work hard enough and you are dedicated. Charlotte has always worked so hard. So, never say never.”
Charlotte scored a staggering 93.857 in the individual dressage event – well-ahead of her nearest rivals.
She and Valegro, who was taking part in his last Olympics before retiring at the grand old age of 14, performed to a specially-written piece designed to reflect the music and culture of Brazil.
In the first week of the Rio games, Charlotte was part of the silver-winning Team GB dressage team – pipped by Germany.
Since wining two golds in London, Charlotte has received an OBE and has become Global Ambassador for the Brooke Hospital for Animals – an equine welfare charity that improves the lives of working horses across the globe.