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‘Charlotte and Valegro’ factor drives extra dressage shows

Dressage riders will now have more opportunities to compete, with the introduction of several new British Dressage (BD) fixtures for 2015.

Extra affiliated shows will be offered across the levels, following a boost in BD membership over the past year.

Three new venues will host Area Festivals in 2015: Forrest Edge, Norfolk (15-17 August), Bicton Arena, Devon (4-6 September), and Beacons, Camarthen (24-26 October). The popular series showed a 32% increase in participation last year.

In Scotland, the Ian Stark Equestrian Centre has been approved to host affiliated competitions, and as part of the calendar of changes, the CDIO at Hickstead will move to 15–19 July. It will now run ahead of the European Championships in Aachen in August.

“We’re working hard with our organisers to continue to grow the sport,” said BD’s Paul Graham.

“Membership is up and we need to meet the needs of the riders; it’s a question of supply and demand. Coupled with this is the need to put on more high-end fixtures to showcase the sport to our growing audience, as well as provide the riders with opportunity to bring on the stars of the future.”

Britain’s Wayne Channon of the International Dressage Riders Club told H&H that the exposure of high profile riders has helped boost the sport’s popularity.

“Dressage is growing in Britain and it’s growing around the world and I think that’s the Valegro and Charlotte [Dujardin] factor,” he said.

“We need to bring young people on board and having riders like Charlotte helps.”

Riders have welcomed these new chances to compete.

British dressage rider and H&H blogger Chloe Vell said: “I am delighted that new centres are becoming approved to run affiliated competitions especially in more secluded, harder to reach areas.

“More local venues reduces the costs of transport and will allow more people to achieve their goals.”

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