Superstar dressage horse Valegro has been named 2013 Horse of the Year by the Royal Warmblood Studbook of The Netherlands.
The title was bestowed on the 12-year-old gelding after a vote by the public and the KWPN (Koninklijk Warmbloed Paard Nederland) Horse of the Year committee.
The award was announced at the 2014 KWPN Stallion Licensing in ‘s Hertogenbosch on Friday.
Valegro is a son of Negro, who was also among the nominees for the title.
Ridden by Charlotte Dujardin, Valegro – Blueberry at home – was unbeaten in 2013 and set a grand prix world record at Olympic in December.
“It was no surprise that the title was awarded to the unbeaten champion of 2013,” a KWPN spokesman said.
“The bay gelding epitomizes the descriptive phrase “happy athlete.” Wherever he competes, he is the audience favorite with his extremely expressive and balanced movement. With so many loyal fans, Valegro even has his own Facebook page, which is immensely popular.”
Other horses up for the award include showjumpers Big Star (ridden by Nick Skelton), Simon (Beezie Madden), and dressage horses Parzival (Adelinde Cornelissen) and Undercover (Edward Gal). Parzival won the title in 2011, and the 2010 award went to Totilas.
Valegro is owned by Carl Hester and Roly Luard, and was bred by Joop and Maartje Hanse from a mare by Gershwin. The Hanses were named WBFSH Dressage Horse Breeders of the Year in 2013.