Only two international dressage competitions will be held in the UK in 2003, following the withdrawal of the Aston CDI, which was due to be held at Sandy Phillips’s Cotswolds base, Soley Farm.

“The organisers at Soley decided not to clash for sponsorship with the European Championships [12-17 August] and have instead decided to allow major support for dressage to be channelled to the Europeans,” said a spokesperson for British Dressage.

Stubbing Court in Derbyshire, previously host to a popular CDI, cancelled its event in 2002 due to lack of sponsorship and has not attempted to re-establish the fixture this year.

The highlight of the dressage year will be the European Championships at Hickstead – the first time a major international competition has beenheld in the UK for 16 years.

Organisers hope that the Europeans will herald a new golden age of international dressage competitions in the UK, similar to the Goodwood era in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when Britain played host to the 1978 World Championships, the 1980 alternative Olympics and the 1987 European Championships.

The only other international dressage fixture in the UK will be the Frys CDI (6-10 August). This is the first CDI to be held at Simon and Laura Fry’s Aike Grange Stud in East Yorkshire, but Simon Fry is a veteran CDI organiser from his days as the owner of Addington Equestrian Centre.

More information on Frys CDI (tel: 01377 271271).

For details on the European Championships visit: www.dressageathickstead.com

Read more dressage news in this week’s Horse & Hound (9 January), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.