Who will be the next Charlotte Dujardin? 25 young British dressage riders to watch

  • We have compiled a list of 25 young dressage riders from all over Britain who have caught the eye. With dedication, drive and a dollop of good luck, one of them might be the one to take over Charlotte’s mantle

    Brittany Dumbleton (pictured)

    17, from Ivybridge
    Brittany had a quiet 2016 as she was volunteering in Peru. She bought Sandiegobese, 17, who has been on the Belgian young rider team, two years ago.

    “It took her a long time to learn to ride a big-moving horse coming from a pony,” says Brittany’s mother, Dominie.

    Lydia May Blake

    13, from Bath
    Lydia and Spot The Spot II are trained by Jo Lees and are aiming for the British Young Rider Dressage Scheme (BYRDS) Home International.

    “I love feeling the action of the horse,” says Lydia May.

    Maddy Whelan

    13, from Abingdon
    Maddy began riding Monsieur Pomerol five months ago, and is on the junior progress squad. She has both Ode To Shannon and Beaurepaire Frodo to pin her European pony hopes on.

    “Maddy has produced both ponies herself,” says Maddy’s mother, Lorna.

    Megan Roberts

    18, from Conwy, Wales
    Megan won a silver medal at the BYRDS Home International in 2016 and this year hopes to compete abroad in young riders on her own Dreamgirl SC. Megan is trained by Lucy Cartwright and is also mentored by Claire Moir.

    “I want to start my own business,” says Megan.

    Laura Woodcock

    23, from Newark
    Laura campaigns three horses from her home base, including the Sandro Hit-sired Salvator, seven, whom she bought as a project from Brightwells sales. Laura also has Whispers to aim internationally at small tour.

    Jessica Sanderson

    13, from York
    Jessica paired up with 14-year-old Wanour S — who had a foal last year — in September. Trained by her mother, Nicky, and Ian Woodhead, Jessica is aiming towards Premier League shows.

    Anya Kolleth

    16, from Church Stretton, Shropshire
    Anya is hoping for team selection for the pony Europeans in both dressage and eventing. Drop The Subject and Laburnum Ineer will be campaigning pony trials, while Anya has the legendary SL Lucci for dressage.

    “I love both disciplines, but they demand different things,” says Anya.

    Jasmine Harding-Heitzmann

    18, from Ascot
    Jasmine is mentored by Nick Burton as part of the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) programme.

    “The unmounted lessons are brilliant,” says Jasmine, who is aiming her nine-year-old Deco at young riders.

    Josh Hill

    20, from East Grinstead
    Josh benefits from monthly lessons with long-time friend Maryanne Horn. He runs his own yard and has five rides at the winter championships.

    “It’s useful seeing things from a judge’s perspective,” says Josh, who was 14 when he bought three-year-old Bewunder.

    Sophie Taylor

    14, from Preston
    Sophie has relocated with her family from the Isle of Man. Madam’s Miss Maria, 12, is Sophie’s FEI pony, while she also has George Clooney BS, six.

    “We were always against the weather living on the island,” says her mother, Amelia.

    Francesca Bradley

    21, from Mold, Denbighshire
    Francesca finishes her equine science degree at Hartpury in May and will move to Dane Rawlins’ yard with Baldovino and a four-year-old bought by her father at the Equine Elite Auction as her 21st birthday present. Francesca is a finalist for this year’s Young Professional Award.

    Amelia Tredinick

    8, from Gosfield, Essex
    Amelia won the eastern BYRDS talent spotting final on her 11.2hh Westfirle Simpkins.

    “He used to be a show pony and luckily Amelia is mature enough in the dressage arena to put everything together,” says Carly, Amelia’s mother.

    Sammy Wuidart

    16, from Hitchen
    Sammy is taking A levels in art, psychology and project design, and hopes to compete Spanish-bred Lince FS at the Masters du Cheval Iberique European final in Paris. She had a “brilliant experience” at the final.

    Matilda Haley

    15, from Aberdeen
    Matilda has a 13-hour drive from north of Aberdeen to reach southern England, but is aiming for juniors this year with Watch Me! The pair went to the 2016 nationals at medium.

    “It was a wake-up call, but an amazing experience,” she says.

    Betsy Smetham

    12, from Sevenoaks
    Betsy has a new ride in the seven-year-old Golden Amber.

    “He’s 14.2hh and has bags of potential. He’s a big step up,” says Betsy, who has graduated from Glyncoch Red Rascal.

    Holly Kerslake

    13, from Launceston
    Holly has two pony stallions at FEI level. Her Welsh cob, Valhallas Zorro, came from Denmark in 2016, while Platinum Honey’s Hope is a German riding pony.

    “We try to train with Charlotte Dujardin as often as we can,” says Holly’s mother, Kirsty.

    Mollie Sears

    16, from Saffron Walden
    Mollie has been keen on riding since she sat on a beach donkey in Greece, aged three. Mollie came third in the prelim nationals last year with her 17.2hh Dimna. Starting at Hartpury College in September, Mollie has a one-day-a-week placement with Sonnar Murray-Brown.

    Robin Smith

    20, from Glasgow
    Robyn is reading sports and exercise science at Loughborough University and keeps two horses with Amy Woodhead. Robyn backed the home-bred Foold Uz when she was 12.

    “Mum says it’s like having two children going down the centre line,” says Robyn, who is aiming for young rider teams.

    Alex Hellings

    17, from Bakewell
    Alex is taking A levels before heading to Sheffield University to read maths.

    “Sheffield is only 20 minutes from my trainer, Sonia Baines,” says Alex, who is aiming for young rider selection again with Uvender V, 15.

    Emma Jones

    18, from Llandudno
    Emma won the BYRDS A squad final at Hartpury College last year and is aiming to compete in young riders and at Premier Leagues with
    Igor Du Banny, 20.

    Verity Tyrell

    23, from Braintree
    Verity works for Eleanor Collins, at whose yard she keeps Z-Vivaldo and Leonard.

    “My ultimate dream is to do a prix st georges [PSG] on ‘Viv’,” says Verity. “Leonard is super sharp and hates flowerpots, so he can be a bit explosive.”

    Rebecca Johnston-Harman

    16, from north Scotland
    Rebecca finds few local PSG tests. Her mother, Jennifer, bought the now 16-year-old Donnergott as a foal.

    “I started riding him two years ago, but it’s easier now my legs have grown,” says Rebecca.

    Anna Lawson

    22, from Guildford
    Anna is taking her finals in human biology at Oxford Brooks, before doing a masters in biomechanics. Anna hopes to campaign Bryan II, 13, at small tour internationally and she also competes her ex-eventer Carentino Z.

    Continued below…

    Sophie Williams

    14, from Denbigh
    Sophie has Ferrari, 19, who has been to five European Championships, to campaign as well as Ella, eight, who went to the Europeans with the Irish team last year. Sophie has a 60-mile round-trip to school and rides afterwards.

    Bracken Parkhouse

    9, from Retford, Notts
    Despite her tender age, Bracken already has elementary points with her 10.3hh Welsh section A pony Gallois Champagne Charlie. She has two other rides and long-term dreams of going to the pony Europeans.

    Ref: Horse & Hound; 23 March 2017

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