Welcome to Out and About Dressage, an online magazine about dressage and dressage riders based in or competing at venues in the South East.
This site’s first priority is show news and to provide greater coverage of winners at Kent, Surrey and Sussex shows than is currently available online or in print form elsewhere.
We will also endeavour eventually to provide 1-3 place results for every show and venue each week (click on the Results tab)
Do you want to sound off? Please email us via the contact page if you have an opinion on a dressage-related topic you would like to share. In the meantime, read what Jo Price has to say, click Opinion.
Everyone has a Back Story. Horses are an encounter which challenge us very fundamentally in so many ways. What story lies behind the rosette that you have?
However, all aspects of dressage, from stable management to training (Features), fall within the site’s area of interest. Please explore this launch issue now and visit us again often. Material will be added to site through the week.
I bought my first horse, a seven-eighths thoroughbred mare, with a bank loan when I was an adult beginner in the late-1970s. Our most memorable show was a combined training in a field on the top of Westerham Hill, Kent. We came 5th! I was totally in love with ‘Philly’ but only shortly after our triumph, the relationship ended in tragedy when she had to be put down — a cannon bone had been shattered by a kick in the field. I had already caught the dressage bug from the very youthful BHSAI who taught me to ride. However, she was such a magician that she also once even sweet-talked me round a 3ft 6in indoor course of jumps. (The lady is now a formidable BHS Assessor and a life-long friend.) The aching gap in my life left by the loss of my first horse was filled by a part-Arab ‘gift horse’. But this one, also a mare, was so nappy that riding out of the gate from the yard was only our first issue, as it was no less difficult to get her to return home at the end of our hack. And I had to be at my desk by 9.30am… She improved and when I moved to a livery yard on Ashdown Forest we had some memorable rides including one when the whole Forest was blanketed with snow and we were the only ones in the world and ‘making first footsteps’. I was firmly convinced at that point – such was my ignorance — that dressage aspirations could only be fulfilled by a warmblood — and I wanted my own yard.
Although I still admire athletic warmbloods, I have since learned to appreciate more profoundly that the definition of dressage is ‘training’ and any horse is an education to its rider and can be educated. Well, I got my own yard, and my own warmbloods and bred one, too. The Hanoverian filly that I bred was an ugly duckling as a baby, but was eventually turned into a very useful PSG level ‘swan’ by a talented trainer who produced her for me for the final heart-break — sale to a ‘good permanent home’. The career that supported my horses was journalism. The horses prompted me to go freelance to provide more time for them, the horses broke the bank, and horses led to me becoming a reporter for Horse & Hound. Horses have also helped me meet lots of people I’m happy to call friends — among them the special few who helped me when I most needed it. Out and About Dressage feels like the most exciting project I’ve undertaken in my life. It’s in response to all the difficulties and successes I see and hear about when I go to competitions, something I very much enjoy. I now have the space to write more of their stories and to publish my own up-to-date photos of the riders and their horses competing.
Celia Cadwallader Editor
www.outandaboutdressage.co.uk Out and About Dressage Ltd