World class dressage at Olympia

  • The London International Horse Show at Olympia will host its first ever FEI Dressage World Cup qualifier this year and the event is attracting top calibre competitors.

    Dressage queen Isabell Werth is among the nominated entries for the £21,700 qualifier, which is sponsored by The Berkeley Group and Horse&Hound. But Werth will find worthy opponents in five-time Olympian Kyra Kyrklund, Olympic bronze-medal Beatriz Ferrer-Salat Serra di Migni and 2002 WEG gold medallist Ann-Kathrin Linsenhoff.

    Ten different nations, from the US to Holland and Germany, will be represented at the show. The British contingent will be particularly impressive as Carl Hester, Ferdi Eilberg, Peter Storr, Richard Davison, Fiona Bigwood, Wayne Channon, Maria Eilberg and Laura Bechtolsteimer all look set to attend. Entries will be confirmed on 4 December.

    “Dressage is the fastest-growing equestrian sport, so we are obviously delighted to host it at Olympia,” says Sarah Hames, a spokeswoman for the show. “And we are thrilled to have the athens bronze medallist along with six other current and previous medallists.”

    The jury is of equally high standards and includes three members of the Ground Jury at the Athens Olympics. British judge Stephen Clarke will preside over fellow Briton Jennie Loriston-Clarke, Swiss Beatrice Buerchler-Keller, Germany’s Dieta Schuele and Belgium’s Mariette Withages-Dieltsens.

    The dressage Grand Prix will take place on the evening of Tuesday 14 December while the Kur will be held the following evening.

    Tickets for the Grand Prix night cost £12.50 for any seat — visitors should note that the Christmas Shopping Village is not open on Tuesday and there are no other displays or show jumping — while tickets for the Kur cost from £16 to £39 depending on the seat.

    Group, child and senior citizen discounts apply for some performances. Details are available at www.olympiahorseshow.comwhere tickets can also be booked. Visitors who book tickets for both dressage evenings pay just £5 for the Tuesday night ticket, but this offer is not available online, so call the box office on 0870 733 0733 for further information.

    Horse&Hound have also put together a special package which includes ringside tickets for both dressage nights, an overnight stay at the four-star Holiday Inn Kensington Forum hotel, a full English breakfasts and discount vouchers for £69. To take advantage of this offer, call 01904 670288 and quote World Cup Dressage.

    Further information on the show is available at www.olympiahorseshow.com

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