‘It’s important not to forget how far we’ve come’: trio of friends win a title apiece at the Winter Dressage Championships

  • What do Dannie Morgan, Sadie Smith and Jezz Palmer have in common? As well as the fact that the trio are great friends, they all hail from non-horsey families, all started their horsey careers at a riding school – and all three of them won a national title on day of the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships.

    Dannie kicked off proceedings by winning the Baileys Horse Feeds novice gold freestyle on Fever Tree, Sadie followed with the Magic prix st georges title on Swanmore Dantina and Jezz capped the day with a win in the Spillers medium gold freestyle on Romanno Weltino.

    “It’s great to be able to do this with your friends, but it’s rare for you all to have a win like this on the same day,” said Dannie, who also took the Prestige novice gold at the Winter Dressage Championships the following day. “Jezz, Sadie and I all live within about 20 minutes of each other, we’re all from Southampton and we have been friends for a long, long time.

    “It’s important to look back sometimes, and not to forget how far you’ve come. When I was leaving school, it was only a dream to be able to do this as a career, and we have all worked really hard having started off at riding schools. We’re all from non-horsey backgrounds, too,” he continues.

    “I knew I wanted to do horses as a career, but financially my parents wouldn’t have been able to support me. But, you know, if you work hard and put yourself in the right position to get opportunities, I think people will give you opportunities. It can happen. Anyone who wants to get involved with this sport, it’s not out of the question. If you can get yourself to a riding school, and have an opportunity to work with horses, just work hard and learn as much as you can.”

    Dannie, Sadie and Jezz are proof that, when it comes to horses, hard work really does pay off. They may have each started off at a riding school, but nowadays, these three are among the most successful dressage riders in Britain, with 27 national titles between them – and counting.

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