Charlotte “Lottie” Fry jumping for joy as individual world champion on Glamourdale at Herning, Denmark. © 2022 Jon Stroud Media.
Aug. 16, 2022
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
One of the scariest things Charlotte “Lottie” Fry ever had to do was to call Anne van Olst for training in Holland after Carl Hester told the then-teenage rider in 2016 he didn’t have room in his barn for two Charlottes. Dujardin, the other Charlotte, in 2016 swept the world championships on Valegro and also set a record high dressage score of 94.300% that stands today.
The younger Charlotte overcame her fears and called Anne and moved to the van Olsts that was to be for six months before returning to England. Three years later, she was still in Holland with no intention of going back.
Eight years on, Lottie is the Charlotte creating the buzz in dressage.
As the second placegetter in the world championship Grand Prix, she led the British team that also included Charlotte Dujardin on Imhotep, Gareth Hughes on Classic Briolinca and Richard Davison on Bubblingh to the silver medal. Then she set the standard for individual performances inn the Grand Prix Special and the Freestyle.
At the age of 26, she is the second youngest individual world champion since the first championship in 1966 and the youngest freestyle champion in eight contests since the first in 1994. On a score of 90.654% she is the second youngest of the 10 combinations in the elite 90% Club. The Herning results will likely boost the pair into the top five in the world from No. 16 currently.
As a seven-year-old, Glamourdale was partnered by Lottie for the rider’s first senior world championship.
An emotional Charlotte Fry on the seven-year-old Glamourdale becoming world young horse champion in 2018. © Ilse Schwarz/DRESSAGE-NEWS.com
Recent years have been jam-packed with success for Lottie.
On Everdale, another KWPN stallion, she was on the British bronze medal team at the Tokyo Olympics, and on her nation’s team that took silver at the European Championships two months later.
And with Kjento Lottie was the world six-year-old champion in 2021 and has been accepted to compete in the world championships next month as a seven-year-old.
Lottie grew up in Yorkshire in the north of England where her parents operated a dressage facility of 25 stables, three arenas and organized international competitions, her mother mostly giving lessons and competing.
From the age of six or seven, she recalled, she was focused on dressage, loved doing dressage tests. She spent her evenings out in the garden running through tests. Competing in ponies wasn’t a great success–a “cheeky stallion” she rode could at times be very good or very bad. She looks back on the time as “probably a good thing” as the pony’s antics taught her a lot.
The death of her mother was “an emotional time, kind of turns your whole life upside down,” but Lottie carried on riding a lot of her mum’s horses.
“It drilled into me really that I wanted to carry on with the horses,” she said of when she was 17 years old. “I dropped out of school and decided that that was it now.
Charlotte Fry on Everdale at the Tokyo Olympics. © 2021 Lily Forado for DRESSAGE-NEWS.com
The plan was for Lottie to work for Carl because she had been training with him for a few years. She showed up a year earlier than expected.
“I don’t really have room for two Charlottes in my yard,” Lottie remembers Carl telling her.
So he suggested she call his good friends, Gert Jan and Anne van Olst, who operate a successful breeding and training business in the Netherlands. Anne is a four-time Olympian for Denmark as well as competing at five world championships.
“Just give them a call and maybe they’d like you to go there,” Carl told Lottie.
“That was one of the scariest things I’d ever done. The thought of going to Holland was actually really exciting. When you’re 17, 18 it’s amazing to be able to get that experience. I was really excited. The most scary thing was to have to call Anne and speak to her on the phone to discuss what we would do. But she was really, really nice. We decided I would go there for six months then come back. I had turned 18 and went off to Holland with my one horse.
“After six months neither one of us said anything and I thought I hope she doesn’t think I’m going to leave now. I ended up staying and didn’t bring it up for three years. I said I was supposed to be here for six months. I’m staying now. We really clicked from the very beginning.
“We had such a great partnership and they have the most incredible horses there.
“It was a real eye-opener because you don’t get stables like that in England… 200 plus horses doing it all the way from three year olds to Grand Prix It’s been an amazing eight years. It’s been a big journey, but I’ve loved it, and it’s got me where I am today.
Part 2: Lottie Fry’s Life in Holland and Help from Isabell Werth to Upset Denmark’s Dreams of a World Championships Sweep