Hickstead Nations Cup Saved By Unusual Band of British Riders. Trainers, Owners

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Great Britain’s 2013 Nations Cup gold medal team of Nikki Crisp on Pasoa, Michael Eilberg on Marakov, Gareth Hughes on DV Stenkjers Nadonna and Carl Hester on Uthopia. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

May 30, 2017

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Riders, trainers and owners have banded together in an unusual move to save international dressage at Hickstead, perhaps Great Britain’s oldest show in its 27th year and the finale of the trans-Atlantic Nations Cup series.

Dane Rawlins, the long time organizer, and Carl Hester, the major player in Britain’s high performance dressage, joined in a campaign in the British magazine Horse & Hound to restore Hickstead to the premier international circuit after the competition was canceled in 2016 due to lack of a sponsor.

The success of the effort has already received contributions from about 32 riders, trainers and owners to enable the Nations Cup show to go on as scheduled July 27-30.

After last year’s cancellation, Dane Rawlins said he talked to Carl Hester after discussing ideas with others involved in the sport.

The result was a campaign promoted by Carl and including Ian Windfields, Anna Louise Ross and the Bechtolsheimer family that have been major financial supporters over the years.

“I just felt in this time of lack of sponsorship especially as we are a medal nation, that surely we could raise funds until a secure investor is found,” Carl told dressage-news.com.

“We are allocated so few slots abroad that we need to keep our home internationals running, for riders’ experience and keeping the sport in the public eye,”

Dane found the response great that indicated the extent of the value of Hickstead.

Six international dressage shows have been scheduled in Britain this year, with the Windsor CDI4* in May and Olympia World Cup event at Christmas as well as Hickstead the major events on the calendar.

In addition to being the final event in the lineup of seven events in the Nations Cup series this year, Hickstead’s history includes staging the open European Championships in 2003 in which combinations from the United States, Canada and Australia participated.

Moorlands Totilas ridden by Edward Gal at Hickstead in 2009, the first performance outside their Netherlands homeand. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

It was also the first competition outside the Netherlands of Totilas that attracted spectators such as Ringo Starr in 2009.

Totilas drew celebrities like Ringo Starr to Hickstead in 2009. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com