How did you first become involved in the invitational dressage at Bolesworth International?
My jumping horses competed at the very first Bolesworth show and have done so every year since. I have therefore been a supporter of the event and watched it develop into the amazing show it is today. As time went by we became friends of the Barbour family and so when Nina had the idea of including dressage it was probably natural that she asked me how to integrate it into the programme.
What are you looking forward to most about international dressage at Bolesworth?
Well to be honest it is going to be a very busy time for me personally as not only will I oversee the practical organisation of the dressage programme at Bolesworth, but I am also planning to compete in the Grand Prix class there myself and I will also have our show jumpers competing there. So I guess I am looking forward to it running smoothly with no major hiccups!
Do dressage horses cope well in the setting?
Yes, as everyone knows it is the most beautiful setting with the main arena in an amphitheatre and surrounded by a moat with the castle as the backdrop. Let’s not beat about the bush though as far as the horses are concerned the atmosphere reflects the stars of the show – BIG! But Nina does everything she can to make it horse (and rider) friendly. It is absolutely brilliant for the production of Britain’s future championship team horses and usually to find anywhere near that kind of top-level show we have to go to Europe, so it’s great to have this on British soil.
The official launch of the new Bolesworth CDI*** was at Carl Hester’s – what is his involvement?
Carl and I have been on British teams together and have collaborated on many joint projects for more years than we can remember, and he too recognises how critical a show like Bolesworth is for the dressage community. He had no hesitation when I asked for his support by agreeing to do the official launch.
Will you be riding at Bolesworth International?
Yes, I plan to ride our homebred 10-year-old gelding Bubblingh. He is owned by Gwendolyn Sonthheim who also owns Bubbling’s mother Ballaseyr Royale who I rode at the Athens Olympics and who won team bronze at the 2003 European Championships.
Do you have any ideas which top-level riders will be attending?
Almost all of the top British stars have told me they plan to compete at Bolesworth CDI***, so the public can expect to see the likes of our Rio Olympic team members plus hopefully Laura Tomlinson, Michael Eilberg, Gareth Hughes and many more plus the top riders from Europe.
What are your future hopes for dressage at Bolesworth International?
The sky is the limit as far as Nina and Bolesworth are concerned!
Get 40% off gate prices if you pre-book your tickets online. General admission tickets are available at a pre-sale price of just £12 for the Thursday and Friday, and £20 for Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Under-12s can enjoy free admission, while a season ticket is at a not-to-be-missed pre-sale price of £40. Tickets can be bought online at www.bolesworthinternational.com