If you haven’t already heard of British dressage rider Davy Harvey, you might want to bookmark his name.
This talented rider has dominated the national dressage circuit in Britain so far this year, and his success shows no sign of waning. In short, Davy is becoming one of the most talked-about dressage riders of 2023, and he’s proved himself as being one to watch over the months and years to come.
The Swindon-based 28-year-old is originally from the Orkney islands, and it was Pammy Hutton who helped set his dressage career in motion after she spotted his talent as a teenager.
Davy was based at Pammy’s Talland School of Equitation for five years, before branching out to set up on his own. In the years since, his career has blossomed, and it has definitely gone up an extra gear in 2023. Here’s why Davy is such an exciting rider to keep an eye on…
1. He scored a hat-trick of winter national titles
Having scooped the prestigious inter I gold crown on Judy Peploe’s talented chestnut mare Hawtins Rossana, he went on to secure an advanced medium double with Diamond Blue. And in doing so, he became the most talked about rider of the championships.
2. His top horses are on seriously good form this year
Having scored win after win on the national circuit throughout the spring and early summer, Davy returned to Hartpury for the final Premier League of the season in July, where he bettered his own record at the venue by bringing home four wins.
Rossana consolidated her progress at inter II level, with a pair of wins, while Diamond Blue, also owned by Judy Peploe, continued his successful step up to small tour, with a prix st georges double.
3. Davy Harvey might be one of the most humble riders out there
Davy won a legion of fans at the Winter Dressage Championships, not just for his super riding and results, but his heartwarming reaction to his own success.
“You never think it will be you, or that you could be good enough,” he said at the time, overcome with disbelief and amazement as title after title came his way.
4. He’s incredibly relatable
Davy admits to being a born pessimist, and is having to work hard at increasing his own faith in his abilities – something a lot of riders can relate to.
“Before every show I look at the line-up and think, ‘There’s no point going – I’ll be last and everyone will laugh’,” he says.
“Before Hartpury I looked at the line-up and thought, ‘Wow it’s such a great class’, but this time, also that it was so nice to be able to go. I felt quite well-prepared and the horses were on good form, but when we got there I worried that if I really went for it in the class, I’d have a test full of mistakes. But then again, we work so hard, and I suppose championships are the time to really go for it.”
5. Davy’s attitude to forging relationships with his horses is refreshing
The 15-year-old Rubin Royal daughter Rossana is now on the brink of grand prix, but it hasn’t always been an easy journey. Davy explains that the key to bringing out the best in her has been compromise – and learning to accept her for who she is, and work with her quirky personality, instead of trying to change her.
“Rossana is very feisty and overconfident, and can be quite unreasonable at times,” he says. “But I’ve learned to let her be strange and spicy, because then she helps me do what I need to do.”
6. His horses come before his own competitive ambitions
For Davy, training his horses at home is what gives him the greatest satisfaction. And he says he’d rather wait until his horses are truly ready for the ring before putting them into a competition environment.
“I take my horses out when they’re ready, rather than always trying to qualify for things. I have a really good batch of horses now and that’s such a luxury. They’ll all do what they need to do when they’re ready, and I’m quite upfront with my owners about that,” he says.
7. He and his partner are something of a power couple
Davy has been with fellow dressage rider Dannie Morgan for two years, and they both enjoy sharing and celebrating each other’s wins – which have been coming thick and fast for both riders this season.
Davy says he and Dannie are very similar in their approach to a lot of aspects of dressage, but that “Dannie is a lot more on it when it comes to going to shows”.
“He’ll ask for my full show plan the week before, and I’ll say, ‘I think I’ll get there on Thursday’ and that’s as far as I’ve got,” laughs Davy.
Hear more from Davy Harvey about his upbringing in Orkney and his training philosophy in our exclusive interview, out in 3 August issue of H&H.
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