The race for the chairmanship of British Dressage (BD) has cranked up a notch following the announcement that Dane Rawlins is to stand.

As H&H went to press on Monday, the only other candidate for the chairmanship was Jennie Loriston-Clarke. The closing date for nominees is 28 February, with postal ballots going out to all BD members at the end of March.

Dane, the founder of Dressage at Hickstead and the co-developer of the British Young Riders’ Dressage Scheme (BYRDS), explained his reasons for standing to H&H.

“I’m sure there are better people out there who aren’t standing, but I’m loud and mouthy and I want to move things forward,” he said.

“The current board has done many good things and the financial set-up is great, but something is missing — the sports aspect,” he said. “BD should not be a business running a sport, but a sport that needs to be run in a businesslike way.”

To this end, if Dane becomes chairman, he proposes to create a sports advisory panel. “This would be an independent sounding board,” he said, “to think about ways we can open dressage to more people.”

Membership of BD, which currently stands at 12,300, is open to anyone with an interest in the sport and costs between £32 and £60 a year. A BD spokesman told H&H that the organisation welcomed Dane’s decision to stand.

“Jennie is a great candidate,” she said, “but it’s great that Dane is standing, too. It is fantastic that people with such passion for the sport want to be a part of the board.”

Riders contacted by H&H said both candidates had a lot of offer.

Emile Faurie, who strenuously denied rumours that he intended to stand for the chairmanship, said the pair had ideal credentials.

“Both have qualities that would make them suitable,” he said. “They are both experienced horsemen.”

Trainer David Hunt echoed Dane’s views on setting up a sports panel.

He reasoned: “The current board has done a fantastic job with the money, but not so much with the actual sports side.”

Emile Faurie added that it was important that the upcoming elections did not divide the sport.

  • This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (15 February, ’07)