Portrait: Danish Superstar Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour

3 min.

It was not with great enthusiasm that Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour first sat on a horse at the age of five. Back then, it was a friend who had to persuade Dufour to try riding. However, it turned out that the friend unknowingly changed Dufour’s future, as from that day on, she had her sights set on reaching the top of the equestrian world. And although the road has not been without obstacles, there has long been no doubt that Dufour has what it takes to be the best.

Dufour began to ride regularly after her first ride with her friend, and after three years, her parents bought her a pony. The riding training became gradually more serious, and after briefly trying to train show-jumping, the young Dufour decided to go all-in on a dressage career. Little by little, she climbed up the ranks, and in 2007, she stopped as a pony rider and began to ride horses.

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Foto: Malgré Tout Media Archive

Early Succeses with Cassidy

In 2010, she started riding Cassidy, the horse that is almost synonymous with Dufour’s early success. Cassidy followed Dufour from youth competitions and gold medals at the U21 European Championships in 2012 and 2013 to Olympic participation and top 5 on the world ranking list. In 2017, Dufour won double individual bronze and team silver at the European Championships with Cassidy. The gelding was also supposed to have been with Dufour at the World Championships in 2018, but the pair had to withdraw due to an injury, and thus Dufour also had to wait to make her World Championship debut. They won another bronze medal at the European Championships in 2019, after which Dufour began riding Bohemian and Vamos Amigos as her preferred horses in major competitions. After 12 years together, Cassidy officially retired with a special performance at the World Championships in Herning.

Bohemian and Vamos Amigos

Bohemian was positioned early on as Cassidy’s successor. Dufour started riding the gelding as a young horse, and when Cassidy was deemed too old for the Tokyo Olympics, which had been postponed from 2020 to 2021, it was Bohemian’s turn to show his worth. Dufour and Bohemian narrowly missed medals in both the individual and team competitions, with two fourth place finished. The pair did better at the European Championships that same year, winning two bronze medals and a silver medal.

Along with Bohemian, Vamos Amigos has been Dufour’s second star horse after Cassidy’s winding down in competition. Vamos Amigos is owned by the English Pidgley family, who gave Dufour the task of training the gelding. Between 2019 and 2022, Vamos Amigos went from never having ridden Grand Prix to being Dufour’s preferred horse at the World Championships in Herning.

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World Champion in Herning

48 years after the World Equestrian Championships were last held in Denmark, the historical statistics were not in Denmark’s favor. Only once before had the Danish dressage team won medals at the World Championships, bronze in 1982. Individually, the Danish dressage riders have done slightly better, with three medal placings. Additionally, it had only happened twice before that nations other than Germany/West Germany had won gold in the team competion. Therefore, it was nothing short of sensational when Dufour and Vamos Amigos, along with Carina Cassøe Krüth, Daniel Bachmann Andersen, and Nanna Merrald Rasmussen and their horses, won in their home nation last year. In the individual competitions, Dufour had to settle for two impressive silver medals after being surpassed by the British Charlotte Fry.

Shortly after the World Championships, Dufour announced that Vamos Amigos would return to his owners and continue his career with Annabella Pidgley. In January of this year, it was announced that Bohemian, who had become Dufour’s first choice for competitions again, had been sold. With reference to the sale of Bohemian, who is now ridden by South Korean Dong Seong Kim, Dufour stated that her focus is now on investing time and money in getting new young horses to be able to compete with her at the highest level.

Thus, Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour is facing a kind of new start in her career. There are talented horses ready in her stable that can lead her to new successes in the future, but they are still relatively unknown to the general followers of equestrian sport. Dufour is a talented and dedicated rider who has achieved great success in her still young career and we look forward to seeing what she will achieve in the future.

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