Eleven riders, eleven horses, a Chef d’equipe, support officials and local supporters are all about to embark on a 1,000 mile round trip to Ayrshire in Scotland to represent the Southern Region and England at the British Dressage Senior Home International.
Teams from all over the UK will be descending on the venue at Rowallan in Scotland for the three-day competition which include classes at a variety of levels for combined teams.
British Dressage’s Southern region covers the Island, as well as Kent, Sussex, Surrey and the Channel Islands and currently has 1800 members and 2,000 associate members. The competitors have a variety of backgrounds often combining fulltime careers with their passion for horses. The team includes a primary school teacher, city financier, communications director, landscape gardening company manager, supermarket retail manager, as well as full time equine trainers and instructors.
Organised by British Dressage the event is growing in popularity following the success of the British dressage team at last year’s Olympics where Britain won team gold as well as individual gold and bronze medals.
Daniel Watson, chairman of the Team Southern and an international medal-winning competitor said the sport is rapidly growing in popularity…
“The Olympics really helped to increase enthusiasm for dressage and events such at this can really help to give confidence to riders and their horses. Competing under pressure helps to develop the partnerships and there is a great team spirit amongst all the competitors.”
Sharon Walker, Southern Regional Development Officer whose responsibility it is to organise the team trip added:
“It’s a long trip to Ayrshire, some of our competitors are probably the furthest away from the competition centre – as the crow flies – and it’s the logistics of getting all the riders and their gear there for a week which can be a challenge, but it’s well worth it.
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“In our sport riders seldom get the opportunity to be part of a team and without exception, anyone who has ridden for Southern have always stated that to be in a group of supportive likeminded people is amazing – an experience they wouldn’t have missed! To be part of a team and to wear the George Cross is an honour for any rider and our teams are so excited to have that challenge.”
The team includes Linda Hall, Sara Morley, Vicky Strutton, Antonia Morgan-Forster, Amy Eastwood, Claire Lewis, Karen Rowe, Eddy Phipps, Danielle Bott, and husband and wife team Mark and Emma Butler. Chef d’equipe is Char Lassetter a former Grand Prix rider and Great Britain team member.