TEAM HICKSTEAD is beavering away to ensure Hickstead International 2017 (27-30 July) is worthy of the title “Jewel in the crown of dressage in the South” and live up to its reputation as the most popular and best-known British show across the Channel, across the Irish Sea and across the Atlantic!

Hickstead’s founder and director Dane Rawlins is proud to say: “The big news is the 1000 Club!” This idea was supported and promoted from the beginning by Britain’s top man of dressage, Carl Hester. Dane continued: “Hickstead must be one of the only shows in the world that is almost entirely and as widely supported by riders, owners and trainers.” He told Out and About Dressage that membership of 1000 Club has reached 47 individuals determined to ensure the return of the Hickstead international after lack of funds forced the show to be cancelled in 2016. He added they have joined long-standing and very generous friends, the Bechtolsheimer family: “They have always been there for us.”

Among newer 1000 Club members is Sam Francis who owns Mango Jacaro, the top Pura Raza Española (PRE) grand prix horse worldwide ridden Vicki Thompson-Winfield to win both the grand prix and the grand prix special at the recent Hickstead Premier League, see image above.

Martin Collins’ support
Dane added that one business, prominent in the sport, was not found wanting, Martin Collins International. Dane explained: “Just before the Hickstead Regionals we decided that two of our surfaces weren’t up to our usual high standard so I rang Martin Collins who found the time to come over personally to inspect them and immediately went into action. The surfaces were lifted and replaced as part of his company’s five-year sponsorship deal with us. His surfaces are the best and he ensures that Hickstead arenas always measure up to the very high Martin Collins’ standard.”

Ian Winfield does it handsomely
Dane added: “Oldencraig’s proprietor Ian Winfield has been brilliant. He’s enthused a lot people and got them on board to support the show with him and he wants to do more to help us again next year. He is an example of what all dressage enthusiasts should be doing. The Netherlands team boss Rien van der Schaft said to me when we were discussing Dutch participation, ‘We must help each other, this is a global sport. It’s not owned by one nation or just a handful of riders’.”

Nations Cup 2017 final contest
This year’s Hickstead international will be the final round in the eight-leg 2017 Nations Cup series. Hickstead joined the series late due to the uncertainty surrounding its viability but four nations have fielded teams to show support and take up the challenge: USA, France, The Netherlands and Great Britain. As well as the CDIO3* Nations Cup, classes will be run all the way down through Small Tour to Young Riders, Juniors and Ponies.

Five star judges
According to Dane, over 50 per cent of competitors will be from overseas — making the classes truly international contests — but, he stresses, “We are trying to ensure that as many Brits and Irish riders who would like to compete are given the chance to do so. And all five of the judges for the grand prix will be five star judges and they will, of course, be judging other classes as well, so riders will have test opinions from five of the most knowledgeable judges in the world!”

Horse & Hound support
In recognition of the importance of supporting this date in the dressage calendar Britain’s leading equestrian weekly Horse & Hound will have two journalists attending the show to ensure four-day coverage of the event.

All fans of the sport (and Art) of dressage out there: come along and show your support, too. Enjoy watching top dressage performances from the comfort of the hospitality marquee or free grandstand seating and listen to expert commentary on your headset. Then celebrate in style and dress up for the “Glitz and Glam” Hickstead Summer Party in aid Chestnut Tree House, the only hospice for children in Sussex.

For more information, contact Hickstead HQ, email: marie@dressageatHickstead.com or tel: 01444 882150

© Out and About Dressage, 19 July 2017

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