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Lucy Higginson says . . .

“It’s been a while since British dressage had so much to cheer about: a bronze medal for our European championship team, qualification for the Athens Olympics in the bag and a cracking turnout from the public for this Hickstead-run championship.

“The weather, arenas, event presentation and amenities for spectators were smashing. The only drawback was the traffic. A lot of people endured dreadful jams. But this shouldn’t take the lustre off a fantastic result. Who’s to say Britain won’t become a dressage nation to be reckoned with?”

Pammy Hutton says . . .

“Two horses competing in the same preliminary class at a regional championships recently were bred, owned and trained by me, and had the same rider. While my correct plodder won the class, the “better” test — in my view, anyway — was awarded a staggering 35 marks’ difference between the judges.

“My very confused rider had also considered the variously marked test to be his better performance. A newcomer to our sport — I could only explain that dressage can be complicated.”

William Fox-Pitt says . . .

“The hot topic at the weekend was Blenheim being forced to ballot 73 horses.
Balloting causes a lot of stress, not only for owners and riders, but also for organisers, who hate having to turn people away.

“The four-star balloting ruling, which goes on points only and has had to be deployed at Badminton and Burghley this year, is tough but fair. The two-horse rider rule is awkward for owners and causes logistical problems, especially for overseas riders. It means that some of the best horses can’t run, which is a shame for the competition.”

Lynn Russell says . . .

“Once again, it was the British Skewbald and Piebald Association (BSPA) classes that pulled in both entries and spectators [at the RIHS]. With 119 forward, split between four classes, conformation judge Marjorie Ramsay and ride judge Tim Wiggett had a mammoth task. Both started and finished with a smile and appreciated the riders’ tremendous enjoyment and enthusiasm.

“This is still an area where the dedicated one-horse owner can get to the top. For many true amateur competitors, qualifying to ride at the RIHS is a dream come true.”

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