British elite Grand Prix dressage riders will be out in force at a brand new International Dressage Event at Wellington Riding in Hampshire next week, the event having been marked as a British team selection trial for this summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games and the European Championships in September.
Amongst those competing will be world-famous Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester, but the youngest competitor at this event will be Cranleigh Prep rider, 11 year old, Darcey Blaze Marcus who has been selected to represent Great Britain in the Children on Horses event.
To qualify for selection, Darcey Blaze and her pony, Valido’s Starlight (Star), were invited to a test riding day at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire over the Easter holidays, along with Britain’s best U25 dressage riders.
In the company of much older riders, many of whom are already established on the international circuit, they performed the Children on Horses team test in front of several FEI judges, GB team selectors, GB coaches and British Dressage Youth International management.
Initial feedback was positive but then followed a nail biting wait before the selection notification and confirmation that DB and Star had been selected for their first international competition.
Chris Allison, Head of Riding, said ‘Covid restrictions meant it was a 4am start in a snow flurry for Darcey Blaze and Star in order to make their test riding time, but this sort of dedication is normal for equestrians in any sphere. Whilst Valido’s Starlight is an experienced pony who is no stranger to the international circuit, having campaigned four Pony Europeans, representing both Britain and Ireland, this is a momentous and exciting progression for Darcey Blaze as a young rider. We wish her every success as she dons her GB jacket for the first time.’