If Dressage is referred to as ‘horse ballet’, then Cathrine Dufour would most certainly be the sport’s current Prima Ballerina.

On Friday, February, 23rd, the World No. 5 stepped into the Scandinavium in Gothenburg, Sweden already a formidable competitor but would leave the arena as the one to watch in 2018. Although taking place exactly one week ago, Dufour’s captivating performance is definitely worth looking back on.

Aboard her stunning chestnut Danish Warmblood gelding, Atterupgaards Cassidy, Dufour laid down an unbelievable Grand Prix Freestyle program that later earned her an 88.200% score—the next placing being World No. 1 Isabell Werth of Germany with 85.380%.

“I was nervous because this was the first time for us to do this Freestyle floor-plan. Cassidy can be spooky because he’s a very sensitive horse, but he was so calm. He was with me every moment of the way and I’ll never forget that standing ovation,” Dufour told FEI’s Louise Parkes.

Important FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final points were collected, pushing Dufour into the 12th position in the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017/2018 Western European League rankings where the top nine riders earn a qualification spot for the Final in Paris this coming April. She won’t be attending the league’s final qualifier at the The Dutch Masters-Indoor Brabant in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands next week, but she hopes she’s done enough to make the cut.

With an individual 13th placing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, team silver and two individual bronze medals at the 2017 European Championships in Gothenburg, and now one of the most impressive Freestyle rides of her career and the 2018 season, we hope to see this bright young star continue to shine in Paris in a month’s time.

Main image ©FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst