Aspire to Affiliate

Taking the plunge from unaffiliated competitions to affiliated can seem daunting for lots of people - but it doesn't have to be!

Petplan Equine found three riders who were about to take the step from unaffiliated to affiliated and have followed their journey ever since. Hear from each rider on their own experiences of competing with British Dressage, and how they went about taking that first step into affiliated dressage.

Meet the Riders and Horses

Kezia Allen and Luca

You only have to worry about you, your horse and your goals. I think I realised that no one is looking at you at all.
Kezia Allen

Kezia is the proud owner of a dark bay, 12 year old warmblood called Luca. When Kezia took her on as an eight year old, everything Luca initially lacked under saddle, she made up for in temperament.

Two years after Kezia got Luca, they entered their first unaffiliated Intro dressage test and Luca was a star. They are now competing at Novice level and having a ball. 

We asked Kezia what her advice would be for anyone looking to compete with British Dressage:

“You only have to worry about you, your horse and your goals. I think I realised that no one is looking at you at all. Everyone is focussing on themselves and their own horse and I actually found that when I spoke to people, they were very encouraging. If you encourage someone when they need it, it might be that someone is on hand to give you that same encouragement just when you need it.

Remember your horse is your hobby and first and foremost it should be fun. If the two of you go out and achieve your goals and have fun doing it, that’s what it is all about.”

Maria Carrasco and Corlita

My advice to anyone is just to get out and enjoy it.
Maria Carrasco

Maria’s horse, Corlita, is an eight year old Hanoverian mare whose stable name is Lita although she is more affectionately known as “La La” as she is quite often in her own la la land.

At first Maria and Lita attempted a few Intro tests, which Maria describes as “bumbling her way around cluelessly”, due to suffering terribly from nerves and the thought of being judged. They are now competing at Prelim level and have taken part in many unaffiliated dressage events this year, with varying success.

Maria had the following advice to share with anyone new to affiliated dressage:

“My advice to anyone is just to get out and enjoy it. I’m a self-confessed perfectionist at times, but I’ve learned that to get any better – you’ve just got to get out there.

I’ve still always tried to hold on to the fact that as well as the personal challenge, I do it because it’s fun. If there is anything that the pandemic of 2020 should have taught us, it’s that time is precious. Get out there, enjoy your horse and enjoy the sport you love.”

Rebecca Smith and Paddy

Don’t be put off by thinking your horses isn’t flashy enough for British Dressage.
Rebecca Smith

Rebecca’s horse is called Patrick Star, or otherwise known as Paddy. He is a 15’2, 12 year old Irish cob. After two and a half years of having the gelding on loan, Rebecca is now lucky enough to own him.

Rebecca works full time and would like to inspire other busy, working people that with lots of hard work and the right help, a normal rider and horse can make the “daunting step up from unaffiliated to affiliated dressage”.

Rebecca had this to say about moving from unaffiliated to affiliated:

“For me the biggest piece of advice to others looking to affiliate is don’t be put off by thinking your horses isn’t flashy enough for British Dressage. Don’t forget dressage is about the whole package.”

Ready to try affiliated?

Read our aspire to affiliate tips and advice on getting started with British Dressage:

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