Charlotte and Valegro, as shown on her FB Page
If, like many horsey people, you take a keen interest in the performances of our top equestrian stars, you're probably already aware of the great news that Charlotte Dujardin has been shortlisted for the BBC's 'Sports Personality of the Year', which is possibly the UK's ultimate sporting accolade. We also know that's not always the case for everyone in the horsey world so we've decided to highlight this story – and see if we can help the horse world get behind her!
Charlotte's success and profile does not just benefit the sport of dressage (which she does, hugely) but she also acts as a role model for anyone who takes pleasure from riding horses, in any discipline. Of course it's wonderful that she's a World Champion and double Olympic gold-medallist but did you know that she was amongst the very first top-level dressage riders to favour a protective riding hat over the traditional top hat? At the time, it caused murmurings amongst the sport's purists but her willingness to publicly endorse safety over tradition marked her out as someone who is her own person and who understands the value of her influence over convention.
It's been said that she's uncomfortable in the limelight that her success has inevitably brought her but then that's true of many a truly dedicated sportsperson. The last two winners of 'SPotY', Sir Bradley Wiggins and Andy Murray both seemed to find it particularly awkward when they won the award – for exactly that reason.
The wider equestrian community could not wish to have a greater champion than Charlotte. From a background not especially known for producing international riders, she has worked hard to achieve her ambitions – surpassing the wildest dreams of even her biggest fans. As such a positive inspiration to countless riders in recent years, it's fair to say that our sport owes her so much - and this is the chance for us to recognise that by making her our Sports Personality of the Year for 2014.
Chris from our Buying Department is voting for Charlotte. Are you?
We've decided to add our voice to the many others in the horse world asking for as many people as possible to vote for Charlotte when the lines open, during the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year show on the evening of Sunday December 14th. We're also encouraging everyone to print this special 'I'm voting for Charlotte Dujardin' sign to hold, which you can share on your social media pages. You can add these pictures to our FB post or mention us on Twitter and we'll re-tweet you! If you're visiting a store over the next week, you 'll also have the chance to show your support there. Just hold the sign and upload the picture!
Let's all work together to see just how strong the equestrian world can be!