Happy 20th Petplan Equine Area Festivals!

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Wed, 15 May 2019 11:20

The 20th anniversary of the iconic British Dressage competition, the Petplan Equine Area Festivals, begins on May 23 2019 and sees 24 Area Festivals and eight Area Festival Finals taking place throughout the summer season.

The series, which was launched in 2000 and is aimed at grass roots riders, has grown from 15 Area Festivals around the country with 555 tests completed in its’ first year to 24 Area Festivals, eight regional Area Festival Finals and the Championships with over 6,000 dressage tests ridden in the 2018/19 series. The Area Festival Championships which was introduced in 2001 had 84 competitors in its’ first year. The most recent Championships in April 2019 had almost 500 tests ridden, illustrating how the Petplan Equine Area Festivals have grown exponentially.

As the 20th anniversary season begins the Petplan Equine Area Festivals is the largest competition in the British Dressage portfolio with more than a third of all members at all levels participating.

As part of the celebrations of the 20th anniversary Petplan Equine is launching the Petplan Equine Area Festival Awards. These very special awards have been designed to recognise the hard work and endeavour that grassroots competitors and their support teams put in to take part in the much-loved Area Festivals. 

  • The award categories are:
    Inspirational star of the series – do you have a particularly interesting qualification story? 
  • Surprise star of the series – is there something different about your horse or dressage partnership?
  • Support star of the series – have you got a special supporter you couldn’t be without? 
  • Progressive star of the series – have you worked your way up through the levels? 
  • Perseverance star of the series – have you had to overcome any significant obstacles on your Area Festival journey?

Entries open on Wednesday 22 May and close on Tuesday 1 September. The nominations will then be judged by an independent panel of equestrian experts. To take part go to where you can nominate your friends, family or yourself. At every Area Festival there will also be the opportunity to nominate for the Awards.

Kate Hopkins, Marketing Consultant at Petplan Equine commented, “It seemed fitting in our 20th anniversary year to celebrate the people who make the Petplan Equine Area Festivals what they are and that is the riders, horses and helpers who take part. Over the years we have heard some quite extraordinary stories from competitors. Petplan Equine is so proud to have been a sponsor right from the beginning; we have seen the Area Festivals grow and change and become what is now a fundamental part of the British Dressage calendar.”

Linda Whetstone, now Chairman of British Dressage created the concept of the Area Festivals in 2000 and has been astounded at the development of the original idea into the huge competition it is today. “When I first had the idea of the Area Festivals it was quite a different era for British Dressage and I very much wanted to build a competition to encourage grassroots riders to participate. I take great satisfaction from seeing how they have developed with the fantastic support of Petplan Equine. I am sure ‘The Petplans’ as they are fondly known will continue to be a jewel in British Dressage’s crown for decades to come.”

Further information about the Petplan Equine Area Festivals is available from the Petplan Equine website or the BD website.