Happy holidays from British Dressage

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Fri, 21 Dec 2018 12:07

It’s been another very busy year at BDHQ, but as 2018 comes to a close there’s plenty to celebrate and look forward to next year.

2018 will be remembered as a fantastic year that illuminated the pathway to Tokyo 2020 and filled us all with hope of what’s to come, as the next generation of young horses started to break through and make their mark on the international stage. The World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA, were a great success for Equestrian Team GBR, despite the best efforts of Hurricane Florence.


Carl Hester, Charlotte Dujardin, Emile Faurie and Spencer Wilton all put in a supreme effort to bring home team bronze and secure the all-important Olympic qualification. Charlotte Dujardin made a welcome return to the world stage with Emma & Jill Blundell’s Mount St John Freestyle; their inspired performance in the battle for the Grand Prix Special medals left them with an unexpected individual bronze. At only nine years old, we can certainly be excited about the bright future ahead of this super mare. We will also follow the progress of Carl’s ride with great anticipation too, with his British bred gelding Hawtin’s Delicato also making the top ten in the GPS in his first major championship, aged just ten.

Sophie Wells led the British charge at the Para World Equestrian Games a week later. Two gold medals and a world record Freestyle score were the award for two stellar performances on board her own and Charlotte Hogg’s C Fatal Attraction. Sophie has continued to receive plenty of plaudits since, winning honours at the AHT and BEWA awards in recognition of her amazing efforts. For the team, including Natasha Baker, Sir Lee Pearson and Erin Orford, along with Sophie, it was a silver medal this time. A experienced Dutch quartet rode at their best to win gold by the narrowest of margins, just 0.6%. With Paralympic qualification secured, the focus will now be on regaining their title in Tokyo.

At the Under 25s European Championships, Charlotte Fry landed Freestyle Gold and Individual Silver with Van Olst Horses' Dark Legend. It was a phenomenal achievement. A first U25 team medal was also brought home by Charlotte and team mates Rebecca Edwards, Claire Gallimore and Ryan Todd – the colour this time, bronze. Let’s see what next year brings!

For our bright rising star Charlotte, the medal haul began two weeks earlier where she and the Van Olst’s Glamourdale snatched the seven year old gold at the FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses in emphatic style. As they say, success breeds success.

Looking to other stars of tomorrow, a phase of building the foundations for the future continued for our NAF under 21 international teams. The pony team finished just outside of the medals on home soil at Bishop Burton, whilst the Young Riders achieved sixth place across the channel in beautiful Fontainebleau, France. Children on Horses rider Lily Payne excelled with Ann Savage’s Beckhouse Cancara, three top ten finishes in an age category gaining momentum is a fantastic achievement.

Closer to home, the NAF Five Star Winter Championships and LeMieux National Championships saw many deserving winners crowned, with Lara Butler landing her first National title with Rubin Al Asad. The Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships were bigger and better than ever – and next year we can look forward to a special year for this series, which celebrates its 20th birthday.

Over the year we’ve crowned so many worthy champions over the year including Kent & Masters Quest Championships, 90 titles on over in The Nettex Associated Championships, the Ideal Saddles Combined Training Championships and of course our inaugural Summer Music Festival and Bronze Championships.

Congratulations too to those who were selected to represent their Region over the team competitions; the chance to ‘earn your flag’ is more popular than ever, inspired by seeing our teams on the podiums internationally no doubt.

Earlier this month saw perhaps our most exciting milestone of 2018, the successful launch of Phase II of our IT transformation project. A year in development, months of testing and over 1.5 million data records have resulted in a bespoke, modern results portal for all of our stakeholders to use and enjoy.

With Phase III already well advanced and progressing well, the CRM system remains on course to be completed by spring of 2019, providing BD with a much more efficient and effective IT platform. Hopefully you’re already seeing the benefits of this significant investment, with further updates still to come over the course of next year.

The office will close at 4.00pm on Friday 21 December and reopens at 9:00am on Wednesday 2 January 2019. The online shop will still be taking orders during this time, but they won’t be processed until we return – so please allow extra time for delivery while we catch up in January.

To bring our Christmas message to an end, we’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and prosperous New Year. From riders, trainers, owners, breeders and grooms, to our organisers, officials, sponsors, volunteers and supporters, no matter how you’re involved with British Dressage we want to say a special thank you for your ongoing support and contribution to our sport.

There are plenty of reasons to be excited about the future, but in the meantime we hope that all of you enjoy the festive season. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

Kind regards,

Linda Whetstone                Jason Brautigam
BD Chairman                      BD Chief Executive