Britain is to host its first World Cup qualifier for eight years in the form of two evening competitions at Olympia.
The FEI awarded the qualifier to December’s show following on from the overwhelming success of last year’s Horse & Hound sponsored first ever dressage gala evening, which was staged with the possibility of a future World Cup qualifier in mind.
British Dressage chairman Desi Dillingham says: “This is possibly the most important development in British Dressage in decades. It gives an amazing platform to promote Dressage to a huge audience. It will also give British riders the opportunity to show how good they are in front of their home crowd.”
Richard Davison, who takes on the role of technical advisor again, says: “Olympia is fantastically organised, and the atmosphere is unique, Foreign riders love it. So I hope we’ll have a very big uptake from abroad too.”
To accommodate the addition to the programme, organisers have extended the show by a day, making it a full seven days (Tuesday 14-Monday 20 December). The grand prix takes place on the Tuesday evening and the kür on the Wednesday evening.
Until last year, Olympia, now in its 34th year, had normally run over five days. The step up to six days last year, and now to seven, makes it the longest show in Britain, with two top international competitions under one roof.
The last dressage World Cup qualifier held in Britain was at the Horse of the Year Show at Wembley in 1996.