NAF Winter Championships offers Five Star Appeal

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Tue, 02 Apr 2019 10:33

Championships organiser Show Direct is making the final preparations at Hartpury Arena in Gloucestershire in readiness for the NAF Five Star Winter Championships (3 – 7 April 2019) which gets underway tomorrow morning.

This five-day event – the finale to the winter dressage season - is without doubt the largest and most diverse event of the BD year. Nowhere else will you find so many of the UK’s top professionals, up-and-coming names and competitive amateurs competing all under one roof.

From Wednesday to Sunday, we’ll welcome more than 1,000 horse and rider combinations at the popular venue which is set amongst glorious Gloucestershire countryside at Hartpury University and College. There are a total of 39 titles for the taking, including Freestyles, plus the deciding rounds of the 2018/2019 Petplan Equine Area Festival series.

British breeding is making waves in the sport and this is no truer than here at Hartpury. An incredible 10 horses from the Headmore Stud in Hampshire are qualified, the small stud represented by Headmore prefixed horses at every level from Prelim to Inter I. Hawtins Stud has a strong presence also, with a number of horses qualified. Included are Hawtins Sandori who will contest the Blue Chip Novice Gold with stud rider Gijs Van Vooren, a young man making his first championship appearance on UK soil; Bryony Goodwin and Hawtins Soave who’ve received a wild card for the TheraPlate UK Medium Gold; and Paul Friday and Hawtins Horatio who contest the Magic Prix St Georges Gold.

Once again, we’re lucky to have an Olympic, World and European gold medallist in our midst at Hartpury as Charlotte Dujardin is here with two of her young rides. Charlotte can be seen with her own five-year-old MSJ Charmer who contests the Blue Chip Novice Gold Friday morning. Then fresh from a triple Small Tour victory at last month’s Keysoe CDI3*, Charlotte and Mount St John VIP contest the Magic PSG on Thursday and the Superflex Inter I Gold on Friday, classes which both qualify for a respective Freestyle during the Friday and Saturday evening Gala Performances.

Charlotte will also be there wearing her owner’s hat, with River Rise Isabella in the Equi-Trek Elementary Gold under Robert Barker, and the pony Cruz III in the Charles Owen Advanced Medium Gold partnered by Jayne Turney.

Gala Performances

Join us on Friday and Saturday (5 – 6 April) for our ticket-only Gala Performances for two show stopping nights where we’ll crown this year’s Magic Prix St Georges and Superflex Intermediate I Freestyle Champions. Witnessing these headline classes, which feature many of the UK’s best Small Tour combinations dancing to music in the atmospheric Hartpury Arena, is an opportunity not to be missed.

In addition to top class competition, this year we’re delighted to welcome Adam Kemp and Matt Frost who will host a 30 minute Master Class during each evening performance. You can expect an educational and entertaining episode with two of Britain’s best as they talk about and demonstrate training from the horse’s perspective - that understanding how the horse sees the world is as important at Grand Prix as it is with the very early stages of introducing the horse to ridden work. Friday investigates ‘what’s it like to be a young horse’, Saturday investigates ‘what’s it like to be a Grand Prix horse’.

During the competition interludes, two fabulous display teams will both be making their NAF Five Star Winter Championships debut - the Shetland Performance Display Team with their display of speed, daring and versatility, and Galloping Acrobatics who specialise in flamboyant equestrian vaulting giving an insight into the amazing world of equestrian performance art. The competition, Master Class and displays combined provide all the ingredients and more for a fantastic evening’s entertainment.

Entry is free during the day and with three arenas running from around 8am to 6pm, and a wealth of shopping, there’s much to see and do.

If you can’t make it to Hartpury, you won’t have to miss any of the action from the NAF Five Star Arena as thanks to support from LeMieux we’re able to provide a live stream of all the daytime indoor classes. Plus the feature gala evening classes, though not live, will be recorded and available to view after the show from Sunday evening.

Please visit the BD Championships website for all the info on the NAF Five Star Championships – news, full timetable, results, tradestands, location and of course, the live stream! Plus, you’ll be able to download rider interviews using our audio service from Cre8media.

BD has a trade stand in the NAF Five Star Arena, so do drop by to see us, and the communications and marketing team will also be out and about providing stories and quotes plus lots of coverage on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@british_dressage).

New for Hartpury visitors this year is the chance to feed back about our communications. You might have heard about our regional roadshow, which comes to a close next week with one final open session in the classrooms above the Hartpury Arena. We always want to improve how we communicate with you, so if you've any views on our magazine, newsletters, website or social media, come along and have your say on Sunday 7 April at 1.30pm.

The annual Members’ Meeting returns, taking place on Thursday evening (4 April) in lecture theatre MDC05 in the main Hartpury campus, just a short walk from Hartpury Arena, starting 15 minutes after the last prize-giving which should be about 6.30pm. Members of the Board and the senior management team will be available to chat and talk through your questions.