The Horse of the Year Show (6-10 October) has followed Olympia’s lead by re-introducing dressage to its programme, the first time it has been seen at the show since a World Cup qualifier was held in 1996.
In a unique competition, two teams of seven will perform, between them, an individual freestyle grand prix kür, a pas de deux and a quadrille, all to music.
Team A includes Olympian Nicola McGivern, who performs the individual test, as well as Ian Cast and Anna Ross, who recently brought dressage to London with a pas de deux at Broadgate Circus (news, 12 August). Emile Faurie heads up team B, and Nicky Barrett and Charlotte Edmonds perform team B’s pas de deux.
Judges Stephen Clarke, who officiated at Athens, and David Trott, British chef d’equipe, will scrutinise the performances. A small panel of members of the public will also award scores, and the performance judged most aesthetically pleasing will receive an additional prize. The competition is backed by saddlemaker Jaguar Equestrian.
Other attractions include top-class showing, show jumping and driving.
In addition, top Icelandic horses and riders will show off the breed’s five natural gaits – the extra two are the “pace” and “tölt”. Pace is a two-beat lateral gait which can reach speeds of up to 30mph, while the tölt gives such a smooth ride that riders can carry a drink at speed without spilling a drop.
Mike Gill, Director of show organisers Grandstand Media Ltd, comments; “Horse of the Year Show has traditionally been regarded as a celebration of the nation’s equestrian heritage and encompasses a range of disciplines.
“We are therefore delighted to be welcoming dressage back into the HOYS spotlight in what is sure to be an enthralling competition.”
The programme will be aired on 11 and 12 October – see TV listings in October for details.