South & West Region Updates
Here you can find out all of the latest news and updates from the South & West region.
Inter-County Challenge 2024 date confirmed!
26 - 28 April 2024 at Bicton Arena, Devon
Qualifications start on 1 October 2023.
If you have any questions or would like further information, contact Amanda Rogers, Regional Development Officer.
First Island Ambassador Appointed
Meet Claire who is our new Guernsey ambassador! She tells us a little bit about herself: I moved to the beautiful island of Guernsey almost 20 years ago from the Leicestershire/Warwickshire border. Having ridden and owned horses since the age of three and regularly ridden side saddle, and hunted with the Quorn I knew little about dressage.
My interest in dressage began with my eldest daughter Lucie, when she was given the ride on her pony of a lifetime. She went on to compete at Hickstead, Area Festivals, Regionals and Under 21’s at Addington with lots of success. Many years later my youngest daughter Millie was given a similar opportunity by some lovely owners, and has since competed at the Youth Home Nations & South and West Inter County Championships. The BD youth programme is something I knew little about until a few years ago, but it inspires so many young riders. The community atmosphere at these events has to be experienced, and I cannot encourage riders enough to join in the fun, both at youth and senior level.
I am proud to be a BD Ambassador and although my experience to date is mainly with youth riders, with whom dressage of the future lies, I aim to support, encourage and inspire all of our riders, both on island and when competing on the mainland, and I am really looking forward to making more new friends and having more fantastic experiences through British Dressage.
New Cornwall County Co-Ambassador
Always a great supporter of the Inter-County Challenge, Inter Regionals and Home Nations, Nicky Allen is now going to work along side Clare Deithrick in Cornwall as our County Co-Ambassador. We asked Nicky to tell us a bit about herself and her dressage journey.
"I’ve been competing with British Dressage since July 2016 after wanting to get some prep in before the eventing season but I started riding when I was seven years old on a Welsh mountain pony my mum rescued. Knowing nothing about horses I had lessons at a local riding school and helping out.
I continued training my pony at home reading as many books as possible to learn groundwork, how to make her comfortable and tried very hard to ride her in our paddock that we rented but it usually ended in me walking as slowly as possible up the field for her to turn around and bomb it back to the gate where I promptly fell off. However none of this put me off. After a couple of years at the local riding stables I was asked to ride one of their competition ponies. I was so excited and then had private lessons with Mr Crowle. So began my dressage training! Although I was much more interested in jumping, my flatwork was the only way to improve but with very few dressage riders to look up to in the 80’s I unwillingly learnt the lateral work. Soon growing out of ponies, after mastering the stickability, I got a four year old on loan.
This is where I found my love for producing horses, still focused on the show jumping, which I continued with until 2014, until I decided to head for eventing. Then along came Fred, an Irish x TB who was a bold jumper. We had lots of adventures at unaffiliated ODE, BE 80, 90 and 100 but unfortunately sustained an injury whilst jumping so our dressage journey began.
We started out at prelim aiming for the winter regionals and then qualified for the Area Festivals at Novice the year after. I love the training and I’m super competitive with myself and got very hooked on the improvements I could make to Fred’s way of going so we continued up the levels. I then decided to breed myself another horse who was more suited to dressage. I had a broodmare that I'd bought alongside a show jumping mare and who had Negro bloodlines, luckily I bought her before Valegro became famous! Great foundation and advice meant I bred Darcy, by Danciano. Whilst she was growing I was continuing my journey with Fred where we took part in two intercounty competitions, a home international, two regional championships and qualified for four area festivals and the championships in prelim to advanced medium.
I was extremely lucky when Darcy was born, if I could have ordered a dressage horse it would have been her. She’s now eight, has long legs and is very trainable, I absolutely love her and can't get enough of training her. I have a great training team and my hopes for her are very high but the journey is just as important as the end goal.
This year will be her third intercounty competition, my favourite event of the year! She has qualified for the area festival at medium and we hope to do advanced medium as well. We’re then looking forward to working on our dressage to music for the winter regionals next year. I am very excited about the future for us both. but I couldn't do it on my own! I have a very supportive husband, brilliant vet, farrier and trainers who inspire me daily.
I hope my story might inspire you to get started with your dressage journey. It may not look as adrenalin filled as show jumping and eventing but it brings just as much enjoyment and a lot more satisfaction."