Jennie Loriston-Clarke and Desi Dillingham named Honorary Patrons

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Mon, 28 Nov 2022 12:19 GMT

Last weekend’s National Convention, in association with Harrison Clark Rickerbys, provided a fitting opportunity to recognise two key British Dressage figureheads, Jennie Loriston-Clarke and Desi Dillingham, with the presentation of our highest accolade. 

JLC - Convention

It gives us great pleasure to announce that Jennie Loriston-Clarke and Desi Dillingham have both kindly agreed to become Honorary Patrons of British Dressage. Jennie and Desi end their terms as President and Vice-President respectively this year, and we’re delighted to reward their passionate support, commitment, and dedication to our sport with the highest BD honour. 

Jennie Loriston-Clarke

Jennie (pictured above) has been one of the country’s leading dressage riders, trainers, judges, and breeders for over five decades.  Very few sportsmen or women have achieved such a high level of success in their chosen field that Jennie has in a wide range of roles. 

From 1972 to 1988, Jennie competed at four Olympic Games, missing only Moscow in 1980, and finishing in the Top 15 at the Seoul Olympics in 1998.  Jennie retired from international competition at the end of 1995 to concentrate on judging and helping to support the training and development of other riders, as well as bringing on her own home-bred young horses at Catherston Stud, that she runs with her husband, Anthony, and daughter, Lizzie.

In 1979, Jennie was awarded with an MBE for her services to equestrianism, and in 2006 she became the first person to be awarded with the Queen's Award for Equestrianism.  In 2007, Jennie was elected Chair of British Dressage, where she was able to dedicate her boundless energy to promoting British riders, horses, training, and breeding.

A truly inspirational figurehead in our sport, Jennie's contribution, knowledge and wisdom have been pivotal in the transformation of our sport from its conception to the most popular equestrian Olympic Discipline in Great Britain, so it is entirely appropriate that Jennie is named Honorary Patron of British Dressage.

Desi Dillingham - Convention

Desi Dillingham

As Founding Chair of British Dressage, from 1997 to 2007, Desi’s influence and impact as a leader, fundraiser and committee member has been immense.  After an initial introduction to the sport by Jennie, Desi began supporting the sport in marketing, commercial and sponsorship matters, all while running her own recruitment business. In the mid-1990s, she took on the task of transforming British Dressage into the organisation we are today.

In addition to her support for BD, Desi has also served as President of the British Horse Society, and in 2009 she was awarded an MBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, for her services to equestrianism.  Desi continues to make a significant difference to our sector through her support for the equestrian charity HorseWorld, where she has been Chair of the Board of Trustees since 2021, as well as the fundraising activities she continues to orchestrate through the British Equestrian Federation Fund.

Since BD was formed in 1998, dressage in the UK has enjoyed substantial growth, in no small part due to Desi’s vision, energy and drive.  Quite simply, our 18,000 members would not be able to enjoy the same sport without the founding members of BD – and as we enter our 25th year as an independent National Governing Body, it is only fitting that we recognise Desi’s contribution in this way.

We thank both Jennie and Desi for all that they have done for British Dressage, and we are delighted that they have both agreed to be Honorary Patrons.