X Factor comes to dressage — do you have a talent?

  • Riders who think they have the “X Factor” can take part in a unique dressage talent-spotting event on Friday.

    Dressage will get the “X Factor” treatment on Friday, 13 November at The Hand Equestrian Centre in Clevedon. Hopefuls will compete in qualifying classes throughout the day — with 11 finalists facing a panel of select judges and the audience vote in the evening finale — all to raise money for charity.

    The competition is open to all, but international dressage rider Lucinda McAlpine is already entered, along with King Solomon (pictured above being ridden by Lucinda Green) — Mary King’s retired event horse — with his new rider, Paula Lee.

    Organiser Celia Gadd said: “Paula is using the music Mary used when she rode Call Again Cavalier in the Express Eventing competition.”

    How it will work

    Classes throughout the day are divided into novice/elementary, from which two riders will qualify, under-16, from which two more will qualify, and medium and above, from which six will qualify for the finale.

    A judges’ wildcard entry will also go through to the final round.

    Throughout the X Factor-style competition, riders will be awarded scores out of 10 based on musicality, technique and choreography by a team of equestrian experts, including grand prix dressage rider Virginia Peters.

    Celebrity panellists

    Jason Durr of HTV programme Heartbeat, will join a panel of judges scoring riders before they are exposed to the audience vote.

    Raising money for good causes
    Organisers Celia Gadd and Helen Griffiths are running the event in memory of Matthew Billing, who died aged 18 of Sudden Teenage Death Syndrome.

    Money raised will be donated to CRY, a charity that researches the condition, and BBC Children in Need.

    “This is a great way to raise money for charity, and to promote the fun side of dressage,” explained Helen Griffiths.

    “There will be lots of surprises throughout the night. There will be a riding club quadrille and a dancing display from the Prince of Wales’ Arabian stallion Goudhah.

    There are some other novelty displays but I can’t say more as I don’t want to give it away just yet.”

    • For more details visit www.xfactordressage.co.uk

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