Charlotte & the Fangirl

I’m a long-time fan of Charlotte Dujardin. Not in Trekkie or Star Wars territory, but a pretty solid admirer nonetheless. If you aren’t familiar with Ms. Dujardin, she is the most successful British rider in the history of dressage.

Charlotte Dujardin riding Valero at the World Equestrian Games
photo by Florence.Skowron

With Valegro, she currently holds the individual Olympic freestyle, World freestyle and Grand Prix Special, World Cup individual dressage and European freestyle and Grand Prix Special titles. She is the only rider in history to hold all of these titles at the same time.

So clearly, girl has some credentials to admire. Now I should admit, I do love all things British.

british flag in London

At my fantasy dinner party everybody is British. Granted, I probably stand a better chance of getting Charlotte and Carl Hester there than Elton John, Prince Harry, and Adele, but I’ve already made the place cards.

Anyway….even with this love of the British, I was still just an average Charlotte admirer. Unlike one of my friends (I won’t name names, you know who you are) who so badly wanted a photo of her at the World Cup in Las Vegas last April, she took leave of her senses. When we had the opportunity to see Charlotte up close as she sat at a table in the trade fair smiling and signing autographs, my crazy fangirl friend waded through the crowd, all elbows and apologies, and dropped the lens cap for her camera. She pretended it rolled under the table, thus giving her a valid reason to crawl under it to get a close up picture of Ms. Dujardin. The resulting photo was indeed a close up; a blurry close-up of unidentifiable knees and feet. Luckily, Charlotte was very gracious. I would have called security.

But after I started to follow her on Facebook, my admiration for her grew for a completely different reason. I found out that not only is she a great rider and trainer, she’s also an ambassador for The Brooke, an organization that travels to the developing world to help working animals lead better lives.

Click here to learn about The Brooke

It’s hard to look at the photos and it’s tempting to look away. But not Charlotte. She didn’t look away. Instead she took off her white gloves, boarded a plane…

British Airways carrying Charlotte Dujardin

…and went to experience what The Brooke does first hand.

So Charlotte, thank you for introducing me to The Brooke and the incredible work they do. Thank you for being an inspiration, not only in your riding and training, but in the fearlessness of your compassion for animals. You are truly a great role model for me and the younger generations who look up to you too. I am in solid fangirl territory now and just may be the crazy person crawling under the table to get a photo of your knees at your next autograph session. Just please, please don’t go and do something embarrassing to muck it up. I don’t want to catch you drunk and naked on YouTube doing the Nae Nae.

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