H&H dressage editor’s Area Festival video diary: Interrupted by the Olympic champion

  • It’s not every day your blog filming is interrupted by the reigning Olympic champion. So it was a bit of a surprise when Charlotte Dujardin rocked up as I was filming with Sarah Oppenheimer, Alice’s mother.

    You’ll see that we have a bit of banter then Sarah resumes and gives me her invaluable advice — which I’ve promised to try and keep in mind tomorrow morning at 5am as I get Fab ready for the arena walk. I am NOT a morning person.

    After action concluded last night, there was a British Dressage (BD) members’ meeting to which embarrassingly few people turned up.

    It’s a forum for riders, owners and anyone involved in the sport to voice their opinions. God knows there have been enough negative comments about the new bronze/silver/gold competition structure, which came into force on 1 December on the BD forum, so why don’t more people make the effort to come to these meetings?

    BD had lined up about a dozen people — including board members, senior management and regional chairs — all ready and willing to answer questions.

    The meeting was publicized well; in the magazine, on social media and on the front page of the website, so why were there so few people there?

    The salient points were that the new structure is working relatively well but that there are “tweaks” that need to be made, most particularly around where the axe falls between the silver and gold sections as BD feel that balance is not yet right.

    I also pointed out that being a rookie small tour competitor is now more taxing as riders have to choose before they compete whether to go for the Area Festival route by entering silver or regionals (gold). So anyone wishing to try their hand at prix st georges (PSG) and doing a couple of tests at silver but finding that they’re better than they thought and deciding to re-route to regionals has to start the (gold) qualification process all over again.

    BD was very receptive to this grievance, so I’m hopeful there’ll be a revision.

    Tomorrow is the first big day for Fab and I, but we’re in the open section of the medium, so I am not holding out much hope. It’s only our second ever open test at any level, the first being the one that earned us a wild card. We’ll use it more as an extended arena walk — an arena walk, trot and canter — for the following day’s advanced medium.

    Catch up with Alice’s first day blog here

    Catch up with Alice’s second day blog here

    You may like...