‘All breeds together at one showstopping event’: new five-day dressage festival

  • British Dressage’s (BD) popular Associated Championships will come together in a new five-day festival at Onley Grounds Equestrian in Warwickshire for 2024.

    The championships act as a showcase of the variety of horses competing with BD, offering a national final for a wide range of breeds, sizes and types to compete against similar equine athletes.

    “The championships have experienced enormous growth in popularity and participation since its introduction,” a BD spokesperson said. “Now with over 1,000 combinations taking part, we recognised that it was the right time to further develop and evolve the championship finale, bringing all breeds together at one showstopping event.

    “Having undergone extensive development work in recent years, Onley’s first-class facilities allow the opportunity for all 13 Associated Championship categories to compete in the same week, over a five-day festival.”

    Bury Farm and Vale View have hosted the championships since their launch, with categories for each breed or type split across the two venues.

    “We would like to thank the teams at Bury Farm and Vale View EC for their support of the Associated Championships,” the spokesperson said. “A considerable amount of work goes into making these events a memorable occasion for those taking part, and we appreciate their efforts in giving our members the best possible competitor experience.”

    This year, Bury Farm hosted the native pony, GBPRE, Lusitano, Arab horse, draught, traditional gypsy cobs and side saddle championships, while Vale View EC welcomed the veteran horse, veteran rider, CHAPS, retraining of racehorses, thoroughbred and forces equine championships.

    Qualification for the championships is intentionally attainable, with combinations needing to achieve a maximum of three scores at 60% or more within the level they wish to qualify for at any regular BD competition as well as Team or My Quest competitions.

    While this qualification process has enabled the growth of the championships, it has also meant that some riders have had several horses competing across the two venues, which are 90 miles apart. The move to one central venue has been well-received online.

    “We are constantly investing in improving our facilities here at Onley Grounds Equestrian Complex and strive for a world class setup that competitors at all levels can enjoy,” said Sarah Jacklin, organiser at Onley Grounds.

    “It is wonderful to see British Dressage acknowledge and support our passion and enthusiasm in the sport by rewarding us with this opportunity to host the Associated Championships. We look forward to welcoming everyone and hope you enjoy our facilities.”

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