Carl Hester is hoping to set up a syndicate of owners to help cover the costs of Valegro, after deciding to take him off the market.
According to Carl, it had never been the plan to sell the five-times gold medalist, but 'huge offers' kept coming in.
“At end of day I’d love to pay off the bills, but you know what? So what,” Carl told H&C. “I can deal with the mortgage – it’s what all of us do. There will be others I can sell on but this one is special.”
Valegro's rider, Charlotte Dujardin, who has just headed off to New Zealand for a well-earned holiday after breaking her own Freestyle world record at Olympia, can now focus on their future together.
“What a great end to my year to hear Blueberry and I will stay together forever,” she said on her Facebook page.
Carl felt he owed it to Charlotte to come to a final decision about Valegro, and to make it public.
“I didn’t want Charlotte to feel like he might be sold – it’s not great to ride under those conditions,” said Carl. “Besides, Valegro has been with us since he was two, so whoever we sell him to, are they look after him they way we do? Probably not.”
As reported in H&C last January, a dressage fan attempted to set up a syndicate to buy Valegro, however it was never endorsed by owners Carl and Roly Luard. A year on, a syndicate could yet come to fruition, but under different terms as Carl and Roly have enrolled the help of a racing syndicate expert.
“It would be very difficult to have hundreds of owners, so it’s not an ideal solution,” said Carl. “We are leaving it in the hands of the pros and they are looking at best way of forming a small syndicate that would benefit us all.”
“It’s not an investment opportunity as we are not selling Valegro, but it’s for someone that wants to be part of owning him and seeing through Rio and the rest of his career. He’s already won five golds at age 12 and has hopefully got another five or six years in top competition.”
Carl believes the partnership still has much more to give and he states that Valegro could “be better from a technical point of view”. His performance in the freestyle at Olympia demonstrated he is capable of improving what was already a gold-medal winning performance.
“His test wasn’t the best it could be at Olympics and it’s taken 18 months to get it this good,” Carl said. “As well as setting a new record it was also an eye opener for us, as it made us realise how long you need to make a test as perfect as possible”
“Bearing in mind Valegro’s age, as he gets stronger in his body he will be able to give a little bit more.”