From trampolining to grubby saddlepads — 9 things you might not have known about upcoming dressage star Dannie Morgan

  • Dannie Morgan burst on to the dressage scene less than four years ago, and since then has racked up a seriously impressive set of titles and results. We find out more about him...

    1. Since seriously taking up dressage in 2016, Dannie has accumulated an incredible seven national titles, on four different horses — Headmore Davina, Headmore Figaro, Southern Cross Braemar and Knoxx’s Figaro. He also has a whopping 15 regional titles to his name.

    2. Dannie has trained his top horse, the 10-year-old Breitling W son Southern Cross Braemar, all the way up the levels, from novice in 2016 to making their grand prix debut in 2019.

    3. He has maintained his eventing career alongside his dressage, although will campaign just one horse, Equites Mail, on the event circuit this year.

    “I’d like to always keep producing some young event horses, keeping it more as a hobby. I love the training as much as the competing,” he says.

    4. Ingrid Klimke is his all-time equestrian hero.

    “I love the way Ingrid rides — she is the ultimate horsewoman, and it’s amazing to be competing at the top level in two disciplines,” he says. “More recently I’ve been very inspired by Cathrine Dufour too — particularly the way in which she sits and balances the horse.”

    5. He grew up in Southampton, in a non-horsey family and started out at a local riding school.

    “I’ve always loved horses, and decided quite early that I wanted to make it my career. I went to Badminton when I was 14 — the year Andrew Hoy won on Moonfleet,” Dannie recalls. “I just remember being there thinking, ‘I want to do this too’.”

    6. His beloved whippet, Tucker, comes with him to every competition, but his mother has been to just one nationals championship.

    “She’s very supportive, but not horsey at all, so she isn’t hugely invoved,” explains Dannie. “She came to the nationals one year — I took her on freestyle day so it wasn’t like watching paint dry for her!”

    7. He used to compete in trampolining, having got started in the sport aged six.

    “I think I might have been quite good at trampolining actually, but it takes a lot of commitment and training, and although I was doing both sports seriously for a while, in the end I had to choose horses.”

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    8. He has an identical twin, named Lewis, who did ride briefly when they were younger, but now works as a dancer on cruise ships.

    “We were lucky in that we’ve both known which way we wanted to go from a young age. I remember realising that if you want something enough you’ll work as hard as you need to for it,” says Dannie.

    9. There have been one or two funny moments where his background as an eventer has shown.

    “I remember once Lucy Pye was horrified that I hadn’t put on a fresh saddle cloth between classes,” Dannie laughs. “I’ve had to up my standards a little and look more tidy — I’m generally pretty relaxed about that stuff.”

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