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British Dressage notes sport’s growing popularity

British Dressage has marked three major milestones in recent weeks, with membership reaching 14,000, horse registrations at 11,000 and free online associate membership at 38,000.

Headquartered at Meriden in the West Midlands, British Dressage now boasts a total membership base of 52,000, proof that support for dressage continues to grow in the UK.

An improvement in the Nation’s economy, Olympic success, new competition in the form of Team Quest, regional initiatives like ‘Have a Go Days’ and improved opportunity have all contributed to the increase in numbers but the overriding factor is simply the appeal of the sport as an accessible equestrian discipline.

Participation in the first half of 2014 is also following the increase in members with figures some 17% up on a like-for-like period last year.

“It is fantastic news that we have reached this significant milestone,” says Jason Brautigam, BD Chief Executive.

“Dressage continues to go from strength to strength, with our membership growing rapidly this year as a result of exciting new initiatives such as Team Quest.  This is undoubtedly part of the legacy of London 2012, which has brought the sport to a wider audience, but is also testament to the hard work of all of the team at British Dressage.”

BD’s 14,000th member is 17-year-old Charlotte Louette from Kent who joined on the BD tradestand at the recent Hickstead CDIO3* fixture.

Charlotte took advantage of an offer of ‘join and your horse goes free’, to make the break into affiliated dressage.  She’s joined as her horse, Theodore, an eight-year-old part-bred Welsh Cob, is ready for affiliated competition. She’s had him since he was four and has brought him on to elementary level.  Charlotte explains; “We’ve been doing some BE eventing and his dressage is always brilliant but the cross country isn’t!  So I thought the best thing was to have a change of discipline.  He’s been great to train and has the talent so we’ll see how it goes.”

The honour of the 11,000th horse goes to 16-year-old Fultons Fernet who’ll be ridden by 20-year-old Sarah Houldridge from Cambridge.  They came to BD via a Have a Go Day in the Eastern region where participants ride a test, get feedback from a trainer and learn more about what competing and training with BD is all about.  “Fern” is owned and bred by Sarah’s boss, Sharon Newbound who has asked Sarah to get her back into competition life.  “We’re aiming to start at Novice and will see how it goes.  I’d love to qualify for a Championship but the aim is to get her out and about and give me the competition experience,” Sarah said.

 

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