The tide may be changing as the London 2012 factor entices overseas dressage riders not just to the sport’s traditional heartland of Europe, but to the UK.
Australian grand prix rider Jessica Greelish, who emigrated from her homeland to Denmark in 2011, has relocated to the Cotswolds this winter.
She has moved her 3 horses from Andreas Helgstrand’s yard in Vodskov, northern Denmark to Emile Faurie’s Heath Farm, near Chipping Norton.
She said “the strong British dressage scene” was an important factor.
“I came to see Emile and spent some time at Heath Farm watching him ride and train,” Jessica told H&H. “He has a very calm and effective approach, which I really liked — along with many years’ experience; his CV is quite something.”
“I wanted to move somewhere where English was the first language and after meeting the professional and fun team here, it was an easy decision.”
She trains with Emile 6 days a week with all 3 horses.
“There is a great atmosphere and the horses are happy, responding very well to Emile’s training style and ethos,” she said. “London being on the doorstep is great for me too.”
The horses are Lancaster, an 11-year-old Danish warmblood, Cavalia, a 7-year-old by Sir Donnerhall, and an Australian-bred 5-year-old, Riverndell Jewel, whom she brought over from Australia.
Lancaster will be aimed at selection for a berth in the Australian team at the World Equestrian Games this September, while Cavalia’s main aim is small tour by the end of the year.
Although she found her 2 older horses at Andreas Helgstrand’s — where she was based for 2½ years — she felt the time was right for a change.
“Jessica just wanted to try something else,” Andreas told H&H, “and we stopped in a good way.”