12 stars of Christmas: meet the event rider making waves in the dressage world

  • Over the 12 days of Christmas this festive season, we are shining a light on up-and-coming talent across the disciplines. These are people you really need to keep an eye out for in 2019...

    Three years ago, Dannie Morgan had never ridden a British Dressage test in his life. Fast forward to 2018, and the 27-year-old now has 11 regional titles, three winter championships and a national championship title to his name. Not bad for an event rider!

    “The highlights of this year have definitely been winning the advanced medium freestyle winter title on my own horse, Southern Cross Braemar [Barry, pictured top], and taking a national title in September on a new ride, Knoxx’s Figaro,” reflects Dannie.

    Hampshire-based Dannie has trained the eight-year-old Breitling W gelding Barry up through the levels himself, and the pair did their first inter I test in August this year.

    “We’re learning together and Barry is now training all the grand prix movements at home,” said Dannie, who has also continued eventing successfully alongside his blooming dressage career.

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    2019 is set to be an especially exciting year for Dannie, with a string of talented horses including several from the Oppenheimers’ Headmore Stud. The eight-year-old Jazz gelding Knoxx’s Figaro is set to move up to small tour, and Dannie has his sights set on inter II and his first international with Barry.

    “My trainer, Eric Theilgaard, is brilliant and has completely transformed my riding — mostly by telling me to slow it all down — and has instilled a lot of confidence in me,” says Dannie. “He has said that by the end of 2019 I may be ready for grand prix.

    “Sometimes I can be hard on myself but I have to remind myself that I’ve only been doing pure dressage for a couple of years,” adds Dannie, who used to be a competitive trampolinist before embarking on his riding career.

    As well as his competition prospects, Dannie is also excitedly awaiting his first foal, due next year out of a full sister to Barry, and by Franklin.

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