Dressage at Hickstead was founded in 1993 after four years of preparatory work by International trainer Dane Rawlins and a small group of financial supporters, on a site of land at Douglas Bunn’s All England Jumping Course in Hickstead, West Sussex. Its first year coincided with the demise of the fantastic Goodwood dressage venue. Within the space of only a few years it grew to become Britain’s premier venue for both International and National dressage competitions
Dressage at Hickstead has promoted Britain’s status in the sport of dressage and is now considered to be a world class dressage venue. It is highly regarded on the International scene, voted by riders as hosting the 3rd best International show after Rotterdam and Aachen.
The venue has also contributed greatly to the opportunities available for our own British riders. In 1998 we had the privilege to be selected by the FEI to host the Junior and Young Rider European Dressage Championships, a great honour not only for Dressage at Hickstead but also for Great Britain. This event was made even more memorable when the British Junior Team took the Bronze Medal.
In 2003 Dressage at Hickstead was the home to the enormously successful FEI European Championships at which the British Team took the Bronze Medal behind Spain and winners Germany. Previously it had appeared that Team GB (comprising Emma Hindle with Wie Weltmeyer, Emile Faurie with Rasher Hopes, Richard Davison with Ballaseyr Royale and Nicola McGivern with Active Walero) would not qualify for the Athens Olympics but thanks to the Dressage at Hickstead team, and the wonderful home support, our four team members secured the Olympic ticket.
Dressage at Hickstead continues to grow. It was with great pride in 2009 that we welcomed the Exquis World Dressage Masters Series and Moorlands Totilas, who made history at Hickstead. He was competing for the first time abroad at Grand Prix level and scored a new World Record in the Kur. Laura Bechtolsheimer also scored a new personal best. It was an unbelievable show.
There followed a break in 2011 due to the Olympics but in 2013 the FEI recreated the CDIO Nations Cup and four venues were chosen to trial the new format – Vidauban in France, Rotterdam in Holland, Aachen in Germany and Hickstead. We were honoured to be the last of the series in 2013. Germany won the overall Nations Cup combined from the above shows. Seven Teams competed at Hickstead with the Nations Cup being decided in the Freestyle Competition, this made for exciting viewing with Great Britain winning the Hickstead leg.
So, onwards and upwards, we’re looking forward to many more years.