British Dressage board members are working on a plan to secure public funding for dressage coaching, members were told at the organisation’s recent annual general meeting.

The UK’s top 20 sports, which have not yet been decided, will receive £25m to put towards improvement through better coaching.

“We want to make sure that dressage is one of those sports, and to that end we are developing a broad-based coaching strategy,” says BD chief executive David Holmes.

One of the key aims of the BD coaching strategy is to ensure it has input from international dressage trainers.

Strong membership

Membership of British Dressage is growing at a rate of around 100 members a month and is on target to hit 10,000 members this year.

Having recovered from the aftermath of foot-and-mouth, and the associated drop in membership, the organisation has moved into profit in the region of £43,381 for the year to December 2002, against a loss of £6,281 in 2001.

After tax, that means that BD has built up reserves of £45,287, which are vital to bolster coffers against unexpected costs.

Growing costs

One foreseen increase is BD’s public liability cover, which is set to rise. BD has a capped agreement with its insurer, BEIB, which will end in July 2004.

The best estimates so far suggest that the cost could rise by anything up to 50%, as a result of a recent case in the Law Lords, where an owner was held liable for injuries caused by their horses when they escaped from their adequately fenced field.

Elsewhere, BD is obliged to provide £40,000 funding for the Athens Olympics, at the request of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF). In 2002, £15,000 of that figure was allocated to reserves.

Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (12 June), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.