The nine dressage events you shouldn’t miss

By Carole Mortimer on |

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Royal Windsor Horse Show
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The NAF Five Star Winter championships, Hartpury College, Glos, April 6-10

The culmination of the winter season has a busy schedule of 29 championships from prelim to Intermediate I. Ticket only gala performances on Friday and Saturday night feature advanced level dressage to music championships, as well as a masterclasses with British team rider Gareth Hughes and British international judge Isobel Wessels. www.bdchampionships.com

The Royal Windsor Horse Show, Berkshire, May 11

A rare occasion to combine dressage with a visit to one of the UK’s leading horse shows at arguably the most prestigious venue (pictured). As well as horses and shopping galore, the show offers a great opportunity for royal and star spotting, with potential for a high success rate. www.rwhs.co.uk

Somerford CDI3* and Premier League, Cheshire, May 28-30

This popular premier league fixture recently gained international 3* status and goes international for the first time this year. As well as the new international big and small tour classes, Carl Hester is to judge an inaugural star-spotting class for amateur riders between the ages of 10 and 21. Organisers have pulled out the stops to provide a spectator experience and welcome for everyone and facilities include live-scoring, ringside café and children’s play area.www.somerfordpark.co.uk

Hartpury Festival of Dressage, Gloucestershire, July 6-10

Five days of international and premier league dressage, including para-dressage and the British young pony championships. This fixture is also possibly the last chance to see major combinations before they head off to Brazil for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The gala evening, which was live-streamed last year, hosts a grand prix freestyle. equineevents.hartpury.ac.uk

International and Paralympic dressage (CPEDI), Bishop Burton, East Yorkshire, July 27-31

Britain’s leading Paralympic and para-dressage riders head north to Yorkshire for this fixture, which is the UK’s highest rated para-dressage competition and gained 3* (Paralympic) status last year. www.bishopburton.ac.uk

Hickstead CDI5*, Sussex, July 28-31

Begun 23 years ago, this international fixture at Hickstead has become a firm favourite of many riders, who move in for the duration. The venue hosts the only 5* international and international team competition (CDIO) in the UK, as well as international pony, junior and young rider classes. The schedule also includes the finals of the British young dressage horse championships. www.dressageathickstead.com

Lemieux National Championships, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, September 15-18

The national championships are the raison d’etre for many dressage riders, who aspire to qualify for Stoneleigh. Four days and two arenas of competition decide 20 National titles and a further four para-dressage championships. The final day will see the 2016 national grand prix champion crowned, as well as the finals of the coveted Shearwater young horse championships. www.bdchampionships.com

Team Quest National final, Bury Farm, Bedfordshire, October 28-30

Last year, more than 2000 riders took part in Team Quest, a national team competition initiated in 2014 for amateur riders. The hotly contested team finals, decided by nine regional finals, take place at Bury Farm. Some 48 teams from all over the UK travelled to the centre — including two that made the heroic journey from Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis. www.buryfarmestates.co.uk

Olympia, London, December 14

The ultimate Christmas show hosts the UK’s only international FEI World Cup qualifier, which has become a ‘must go’ fixture for anyone and everyone in the dressage world – invitations to one of the ringside boxes for the freestyle evening are greatly coveted. The competition offers a rare opportunity to see leading international combinations in the UK and has regularly been the venue for record breaking scores; both Totilas and Valegro broke world records here. www.olympiahorseshow.com

Image: Advanced medium freestyle-to-music dressage at the Royal windsor Horse Show 2015, by Kit Houghton/Hpower, courtesy of the Royal Windsor Horse Show

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