2017: a great year for British Dressage
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Inspired by the legacy of Rio and London, dressage continues to go from strength to strength. More of you are trotting down the centre line, new members are joining and training and financially we’re strong which is allowing us to invest and make our sport bigger and better for all.
At our headquarters in Meriden we’re celebrating an outstanding 2017 in which the charity surpassed many records and launched several exciting new programmes.
One of our major achievements of the past year was recorded in December as our membership team registered horse number 20,000. As well as being an outstanding all-time high, this coincides with the arrival of British Dressage’s 20th Anniversary - an event which we will be celebrating for a full 12 months, keep an eye out for unique events and offers.
Paid membership topped 17,000 and we welcomed over 3,400 new members into the sport. Inside the white boards, the 250,000 total entry mark was passed at the end of October. Concerning the next generation of stars we recorded 116 total entered horses at the 2017 Young Horse semi-finals, if quantity is a sure measure then the future of the sport is in safe hooves!
Medals were once again brought home from two FEI Championship events. The outstanding Para team kept up their unbeaten record of winning Gold at every Championship since 1996 to make them one of Britain’s most successful sporting squads. The Pony team returned to the podium achieving a Bronze medal at their Championships out in a very warm Kaposvar, Hungary whilst the Young Riders just missed out placing fourth in Roosendaal, Holland.
The Senior team also just missed a medal finishing a very close fourth place in a year of rebuilding. We can turn our attention now to the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA which is set to be a star spangled showstopper.
Back in the office, Sports Operations designed and launched two brand new Championships for 2018 to improve opportunities for grassroots members, amateurs and music fans. We are thoroughly looking forward to the inaugural Bronze Championships and Music Championships this summer. The Quest Club Championships were as popular as ever with two new teams being crowned Champions whilst the LeMieux National Dressage Championships and NAF Five Star Winter Championships were also very successful.
Coaching was a major focus of the Training and Education team and they recorded a total of 260 accredited and recognized coaches, with 56 of the group at UKCC L2 and 120 at UKCC L3. To get to this point there were five courses and a standalone assessment day resulting in six L4 candidates, three of whom progressed to a full Masters in Professional Coaching Practice.
For the same department, a new judge exam system was launched and deemed a success. Huge numbers of candidates took part in the first and second stages with 300 attending part three; 92 judges passed their exams in only six months – a highly commendable achievement! Whilst training participation is up by nearly 23% in our eight Regions.
For the younger riders in the sport we were very proud to launch BD Youth – the revised and rebranded system for those under the age of 25. Moving forward there will be new opportunities to train, compete and enjoy all aspects of dressage, watch this space in 2018.
Moving away from the arena and onto the Internet, our social media channels reached 165k followers across five platforms from ten different feeds and over two million sessions were recorded on the BD website. This summer we’re looking forward to unveiling a new online results portal for speedier, more accurate scores from our venues; this follows the redeveloped schedules page which launched towards the end of 2017.
Less than a fortnight into 2018, the team at BD are busily bringing our plans to make 2018, our 20th anniversary year, bigger and better than ever!