A young dressage rider’s electric blue boots divided opinion at a recent competition.
14-year-old Alanna Clarke won the prelim at Manor Grange Stud Competition Centre (4 February) wearing the patent boots
The South Yorkshire-based British Young Riders Dressage Scheme(BYRDS) rider was given the boots for Christmas and said she was pleasantly surprised to discover they were British Dressage (BD) legal.
“Alanna fell in love with the boots when she first saw them over a year ago, she was really excited when BD confirmed they were ok for competition,” Alanna’s mother, Linda Whitelaw, told H&H.
“I’d emailed BD and said I understood if they wouldn’t be, but as they encourage fun and colours in My Quest, I asked if they would be allowed for that.
“When they came back to me saying they are actually ok for normal competition I asked if they’d been to Specsavers!
“The reaction was mixed with many spectators casting admiring glances and asking where they could buy some, but others stating that this was the thin end of the wedge and they would never have allowed them.”
Ms Whitelaw added that Alanna plans to wear the boots again today (19 February) at Aldham Mill.
“I asked Alanna if she was ready with the attention the boots would get — lots of people love them but a lot will dislike them — but she thinks that as long as she looks smart and stylish, her boot colour doesn’t affect her horse’s way of going, and feeling great as you trot down that centre line is all part of performing a test.
“She feels that with figureheads like Charlotte [Dujardin] who has led a switch to helmets, dressage is changing and how great to have the freedom to choose. She’d love to see more colour.”
BD relaxed its rules on ‘bling’ boots last year. At a rules and fixtures committee meeting on 7 March 2016, the team looked at a wide range of boots, some that met with the rules and others that did not.
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Following the meeting, a rule change was put in place.
“The committee was in agreement that what people wear on their feet has no bearing on their performance and regardless of personal taste that all the boots that were reviewed were acceptable,” said a BD spokesman.