Dark breeches for dressage, changes prompted by TV documentary, and other things the horse world is talking about

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  • 1. New clothing rules for British Dressage

    News that British Dressage (BD) is to allow dark breeches in competition from next year – as well as jackets in any single colour – has split opinion. Many are welcoming the move, which chief executive Jason Brautigam told H&H was “to make BD as accessible as possible”, while others say they will be sticking with their traditional white breeches and dark jackets.  “Dressage is a colourful sport, where we have all types of horses and ponies competing, so we want to allow riders to wear the breeches and jackets of their choice too,” added Mr Brautigam. As the rule change, which was predicted by H&H columnist Anna Ross a year ago, allows riders the choice to do either, hopefully all parties will be happy.

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    2. Changes following undercover TV documentary

    Helgstrand Dressage will record all training at its Danish bases on camera, in “continued efforts to ensure the highest level of welfare” – in the “wake of recordings of poor riding”. The news follows the public backlash to the broadcast of TV2’s documentary Operation X: The Secrets of the Horse Billionaire, filmed undercover at the stud in January. In a statement released on 1 December, a Helgstrand Dressage spokesman said that from today (5 December) professional camera equipment will be installed in all riding halls at the the stud’s three locations in Denmark, “to reassure both the federation and the authorities that riding and training is done properly.”

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    3.  An event rider lining up for London’s puissance

    Olympic eventer Gemma Stevens will be among the riders taking part in the puissance – and the six bar – at the London International Horse Show. Gemma will be riding her Hickstead Derby ride, Envoy Merelsnest Z, who is known at home as Dime Bar. The horse has jumped one puissance, with Phillip Miller at Horse of the Year Show this year, but it will be a first attempt at the class for Gemma, who told H&H:  “I’m much less worried about the six-bar; if we have a bit of luck, I think he could do well in that as he can jump a really big vertical – but the puissance scares the crap out of me!”

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