‘I never thought watching novice 37A could be so exciting’: top dressage rider reflects on Winter Championships *H&H Plus*

  • Top dressage rider Alice Oppenheimer has enjoyed a fruitful week at the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships with a number of wins and placings, including the SpuerFlex Intermediate I freestyle gold with Headmore Bella Ruby earlier today (1 July), and she has been quick to praise organisers and sponsors.

    “I just love the fact that we’re all here – it’s a real credit to British Dressage (BD), Hartpury, Show Direct and the sponsors that it’s actually all been able to come together in what has been a really peculiar year,” explains Alice. “BD managed to put the show on last year too, which was a huge achievement, but this year was more probably more difficult because we hadn’t had the regional finals, so they had to reschedule all the regionals as well. People are just so thrilled to be here – whether they’ve had a good championship or not, just the chance to actually ride here and compete in the championship as we know it and love it is really, really phenomenal.”

    Alice says that she has only had time to watch one class, but that it was a fascinating one.

    “I watched some of the novice gold class it was amazing – I didn’t realise watching novice 37A could be quite so exciting!” she explains. “It was like edge of the seat stuff thanks to the quality of that class. It was actually really exciting to watch, considering they were just trotting and cantering a few circles. But I always think the novice gold and elementary gold classes are exciting to watch.”

    Hartpury magic has been sparkled over a number of competitors this week and Alice explains why it feels so special.

    “The indoor arena here is super-special – even without the trade stands down the side of the arena, there’s still something about going through the archway that gives you a bit lump in your throat – it can be a bit of a take your breath away moment. And the atmosphere in there is great, even with restricted people here – I’m just really happy to be here.”

    Read the full report from the Winter Dressage Championships in the 8 July 2021 issue of Horse & Hound magazine, and keep checking back to horseandhound.co.uk for more news and features

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