British Dressage has sent a diverse squad of riders on the popular 2004 Sunshine Tour, which is taking place in Spain this month.

Riders competing in Vejer de la Frontera include top names Carl Hester, Pammy Hutton, Rhett Bird and Laura Richardson, as well as a number of up-and-coming stars.

Jo Bagnall of British Dressage says: “The sunshine tour is becoming increasingly popular with British riders as it offers the chance to really focus on competition performance with just one or two horses, without the day-to-day stuff getting the way like it can at home.

“With competitions each weekend and time in the week to concentrate on training, riders who choose to spend time in Spain normally find it extremely beneficial.”

Although bad weather made the journey across Europe eventful for some of the British riders, most produced fine performances at the first competitions of the tour last weekend.

Carl Hester pictured made a positive start to his campaign to represent Britain at the Athens Olympics with Escapado, by taking second place in the grand prix and grand prix special classes with scores of 69.67% and 69.04% respectively.

“Carl and Escapado were reserves for the European Championships last year, and he is determined to go one better and make the main squad for Athens,” explains Jo. “British Dressage is delighted that Carl has made such a fantastic start in Escapado’s first international competition of 2004.”

  • Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s reports from the sunshine tour in a future issue

    Sunshine tour riders

    • Tina Atkins riding Swayze II (big tour)
    • Rhett Bird riding Gerhart (big tour), Onassis II (small tour) and Renegade.RB (young horse)
    • Jonny Clarke-West riding Sibelius IV (big tour)
    • Claire Crocker riding Benvenuto Arminius
    • Sally Goodwin-Davis riding Willsbridge (young rider) and Ortega
    • Rebecca Greenwood riding Simple the Best 2 (young rider)
    • Carl Hester riding Escapado (big tour) and Santas (small tour)
    • Pammy Hutton riding Amanti (big tour) and DHI Karaat T (small tour)
    • Rowan Lewis riding Charlus
    • Anni MacDonald-Hall riding Donner Rhapsody and Lalique II (small tour)
    • Kay Maxted riding Ganimedes (small tour) and Trapani (big tour)
    • Rosie Moreton-Deakin riding Enfant (small tour)
    • Nicki Patrick riding Nevada AJ and Rescue Me H (young rider)
    • Jane Randall riding Kick on Felix (small tour)
    • Laura Richardson riding Millenium and Hoytoft’s Tabasko (big tour), Weserstar (small tour), Dolar (young horse) and Andree Rieux
    • Theresa Smyth riding Canasta II (young rider)