British Dressage (BD) has taken a “massive blow” as its chairman has chosen to leave her position due to health reasons.

Penny Pollard, BD chairman since 2013 and former marketing director, has been receiving ongoing treatment for cancer.

She will stand down at BD’s annual general meeting (AGM) on 20 September.

“I’ve dedicated ten years as a board-level volunteer in this amazing sport, but the time has come for me to put myself first,” she said.

“I’m obviously disappointed as I’d like to have seen out my full term, having achieved so much with the support of the wonderful team within BD. Last year was particularly challenging for many reasons, although it was testament to what great team work, strong partnerships and resilience can achieve – and I for one wanted to continue that momentum.

“However, I now need to focus on the immediate future and spend time with my loved ones and friends. I’ll still be right behind the sport supporting all the great work that goes on and no one will be cheering more loudly to celebrate our successes, but now I have to take a step back.

“I’d like to thank everyone for the support they’ve given to me personally over the last decade, it’s meant a lot and helped drive me to really make a difference.”

Arrangements are currently being made to enable the appointment of an interim chairman at the AGM.

The board of directors will propose an interim appointment to hold the position for a 12-month period, to be approved by members at the AGM.

“This is a massive blow and a terribly sad announcement for everyone involved with BD,” said BD chief executive, Jason Brautigam.

“Penny’s energy, drive and enthusiasm have inspired the board, staff and volunteers of BD beyond measure. She has dedicated countless hours to help shape the future of the sport, modernise our processes and instigated culture change to make us a
much more professional and financially secure organisation.

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“Many will have only seen Penny out and about at events, but her commitment to BD has been incredible, putting in so much work behind the scenes, often at all hours. Personally, she’s helped me enormously in my role and has been a great mentor, providing tremendous support. A simple thank-you isn’t enough and words really can’t express my gratitude.

“We will all miss Penny very much but entirely respect her decision, it’s important now that she focuses on looking after herself and spends some quality time with her family and friends.”

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