“What section am I?” has been the woeful cry of British Dressage (BD) members this season, with the new structure going into place. I like it so far. It’s positive both for the horses and the horse market that schoolmasters can compete in the gold section at lower levels for as long as they wish. The silver section at small tour is a good idea too.

I like the concept of “My Quest”, although I think the clue to the success of Team Quest is in the name. There are few team competitions at the higher levels, so in an effort to encourage camaraderie I have formed the Altogether Equestrian unofficial “Green Team” for the combinations at my yard new to the higher levels.

They have been out competing weekly on their “quest for success” at advanced medium and above, having a lot of fun and a few wins along the way. Green Team members have gained over 65% at prix st georges and conquered pirouettes and tempi changes. Yes, sometimes things haven’t gone so well, but the most important thing is that they have put themselves out there achieving personal goals and pushing on up the levels.

Performances are analysed over wine. I’d love to see team competitions in the future at advanced medium and above. The recent small tour championship was a great start, so I wonder if it could be added to this concept.

New year, new rules?

There has been much talk of rule changes this year, so I thought I’d suggest some of my own for the New Year.

• That pan pipes be banned from the music library of every rider. Likewise Elton John tracks. My non-horsey friends are still wondering what the hell he had to do with the London Olympics.

• That no judge be allowed to sound the horn within 20 metres or directly behind one’s just-backed four-year-old. This crime shall be punishable by that judge having to answer questions on the new BD system online for a day.

• That pony riders compete in their own section at all levels on welfare grounds, to prevent further damage to the morale of the senior riders against whom they compete.

• There should be a specialist subject on Mastermind on the new BD rules. The winner shall have immunity to compete in the bronze section at all levels for five years, but must offer a 24-hour helpline to desperate fellow members.

• Following Nip Tuck’s appearance, there should be at least one horse at the national convention each year that cost less than £1,500.

Judges should all be given two glasses of a decent vintage red wine before commencing their class to ensure they feel appreciated by the membership. Riders will donate to the fund via a £1 levy payable at the venue. In fairness to the riders who do not wish to donate, they shall be judged before the two glasses have been consumed.

I understand that it is not appropriate for judges to drink wine in the mornings, so morning judges will be offered champagne instead.

• That a national bling championship be introduced, to be judged by Katie Price.

A sound set of suggestions, I’m sure you’ll agree! Happy New Year to you all…

Ref: Horse & Hound; 7 January 2016