Anna Ross: An improved strategy in dressage is on the cards *H&H Plus*


  • The new year brings new plans, dreams and horses, and I’m getting excited because our first foals are due on 2 February. I’m also excited that after a few turbulent years, it seems British Dressage (BD) is settling into a new decade with a much-improved competition strategy and sport for all, which reflects its charitable aims.

    The new Middle Tour Festival is a great idea, and I cannot wait to attend the new-look national championships at Somerford Park. Like a brand new brassiere, this should lift the project, separate the various levels and drive forward BD’s quest for excellence. Dressage is growing in all aspects to match demand in the UK. Sales of dressage horses are also high, with demand outstripping supply at the moment.

    Rekindling enthusiasm

    Beth Bainbridge and I provided the dressage demonstration at the Liverpool International Horse Show.

    The whole show is a great spectacle. Organised by the same team as Bolesworth, it had a real old-fashioned horse show feel, with great entertainment between classes. Shows like this could rekindle public enthusiasm for horse sports, with easy-to-understand formats, plenty of entertainment and a fast-paced atmosphere.

    Bolesworth has a similar feel with its unique setting and great hospitality; we are very blessed in the UK to have such enthusiasm to showcase our sport and create a great spectator experience.

    ‘I was feeling smug’

    Lottie Fry is continuing to shine as our latest upcoming talent, and it’s great fun to follow her progress. Although she is based in the Netherlands at Van Olst Horses, social media keeps fans well informed along her journey and I’m looking forward to seeing the exciting stallion Glamourdale competing at grand prix in the future. Having had a sneak peak at him working at Aachen last year, I’d wager a bet that there are exciting times ahead.

    As for me, at the time of writing I’m off to the High Profile show at Addington where there are over 30 pairs entered for the grand prix. The entry list highlights the diversity of our sport with about a 30-year age gap spanning the competitors. The good thing is that in this sport you can keep going for as long as you can sit to the trot and still count your piaffe steps — and experience is certainly valuable.

    I was elated Delgado and I achieved 70% at the recent High Profile show at Keysoe, as we now have our international qualification. But, it’s going to be difficult to find the time to compete him with so many of our clients also qualified to compete internationally.

    I was feeling (temporarily) smug coming out of the arena at Keysoe having just ridden the grand prix, when a tall, handsome gentleman congratulated me on my test. “Well done, Anna,” he chirped as I rode past. Just as I was graciously and modestly accepting his compliments, he then stuffed it up good and proper by adding, “Still got it!” The cheek!

    Luckily the steward got in between us at that point, or there could well have been a welfare issue — and it wouldn’t have involved any horses.

    Richard Haywood, your card is well and truly marked!

    Ref Horse & Hound; 16 January 2020