The future of Dressage at Hickstead (29 July- 1 August), has been secured thanks to Craig Rawlins, brother of Dane who founded the show in 1993.

Earlier this year Dane warned the CDI*****/*** show was in trouble due to the loss of a “major sponsor”. He needed an injection of £250,000 to save it.

Craig runs Equine Elite, an auction company based in the Netherlands, which has stepped in to sponsor the event for “at least” the next three years. With him come a host of other Dutch contacts.

“Their involvement will bring another facet to the show and open doors into European dressage,” said Dane.

Hickstead this year will feature a hospitality village with improved VIP facilities.

“In addition [Dutch dressage team manager] Sjef Janssen has said Hickstead will be
their final trials before the World Equestrian Games,” added Dane.

“Stars like Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas, Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parcival, Anky van Grunsven and Salinero and Imke Schellekens-Bartles and Sunrise will come to Hickstead this year.”

From the UK, the Bechtolsheimer and Pidgley families have also pledged support. Dane Rawlins declined to comment on how much sponsorship he has now raised, but said: “We will meet the financial requirements.”

Craig Rawlins said he hopes the new Dutch involvement will help improve the presentation of shows in the UK.

“How Dane manages to put on a show with the budget available is a miracle,” he said.

“We will not be able to fix it overnight, but this year you will see a difference, which should encourage future investment.”

Hickstead will also host the national final of the Dressage Masters Championship as well as the British Young Horse Championships.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (29 April, ’10)