Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Looking back, but moving forward: 2013 review

What a year it has been in the equestrian world. With lots of firsts, triumphs, thrills and spills across British equestrian sport and disciplines with Team GB leading the forefront of the equine success story. This success has meant British equestrian sport is now not just internationally recognised, but internationally honoured and respected with leading competitors in dressage, show jumping, eventing and Paralympic events. This drive to get equestrian sport out there is something that has been reflected in the student population of De Montfort University, who have been determined to push equestrian sport at university to the front of sporting disciplines. The committee for DMU Equestrian have worked hard this year to set in stone the importance and value of this amazing sport and have had the best success ever so far this year. With a record number of sign ups at the freshers fair kicking things off, the number of rider's who signed to tryout was also the best that DMU has ever seen with lots of positive engagement from the students and other sports teams at the university.

Some of the DMU team rider's at the christmas gymkhana games

The club have worked on developing the number of rider's who come to Witham Villa by holding events for beginners such as the very successful horse care day, that allowed beginner rider's to take part and learn basic horse care skills. Dressage demonstration from Verity Saul, the yard owner and dressage rider at Witham Villa was something that inspired all of our team rider's to get back into the saddle and take the reins to do their very best in the dressage discipline. The fun gymkhana day at the end of term was an alternative way for the team rider's to let off some steam after a successful season competing so far this year. The commitment to training for the competitive teams has been improved by the generous funding from Fidelity Group who have sponsored the BUCS teams in their fight to push for bigger, better results. Alongside this, the society have created their most successful naked charity calendar to date, with a record number of sales and the most exciting and adventurous photos ever seen. The club hosted a 'Night at the Races' charity launch night for the calendar at Bowstring bar in Leicester with horse and dog races, student drinks with donations to charity and calendar sales. The night was a huge success with a great turnout from other societies, sports teams and students who all dressed to impress in order to help support the RDA, a fantastic local group Kimberley House who support and improve the lives of people living with disability through horse riding care and therapy.

The 2013/2014 Committee at the Naked Calendar Launch

The support has been continued through the award winning student media, 'The Demon', with the radio and newspaper offering their full support to the equestrian's with regular features to allow them to promote their sport and keep the student population up to date on their activities. The integration of the sport into different areas of the university has been key to the success they have achieved so far this year, as well as the development and support of their home yard and the trainers and staff working with them. With two home competitions under their belt and lots of positive individual results, the team is positively engaging with the desire to achieve the best results possible to make equestrian sport at DMU better than ever. With 2014 just around the corner, DMU Equestrian have already got their competition preparations in place for next year with some equi-pilates classes set for January to get the team fighting fit for the next set of fixtures. The development of their BUCS rider's will be focussed on in preparations for this year's Varsity match against Leicester university as DMU fight to get the best team ready to go and compete in the biggest event of the year and get the best results possible.

It's safe to say that Equestrian is not just a developing sport at DMU, but the fastest expanding sport in Britain with more and more people getting involved in all things horse in sport. This success can be measured by the amazing triumph of none other, than the leading lady herself, Charlotte Dujardin. The double Olympic champion and her prolific partner, Valegro gained the biggest success of their career at the 2013 Olympia dressage freestyle championships. The 28 year old achieved a record breaking 93.975% in her last ever performance of the dressage test that grasped her gold in 2012. Dujardin is a reflection of the true hard work and dedication that the sport requires, her near perfect score at yesterday's Olympia freestyle signifies a key moment in equestrian history for Britain, and a well earned achievement for both horse and rider. As Olympia continues, Team GB look for more success stories with the puissance and show jumping just around the corner. Who will win the Christmas Cracker? I know DMU Equestrian will be watching to make sure they find out first.

World number 1, Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro @Olympia


A final massive thank you to Witham Villa and all of the staff and horses who have supported us and are helping every single rider reach their own individual goals and achieve their equestrian dreams. To our sponsors, Fidelity Group for helpign us to achieve this by sponsoring our BUCS team rider's allowing them to work towards a positive future. A final thank you to everyone who has supported us with our riding, competitions, photography, charity work and society, we are ever anticipating the start of 2014!

Keep up to date with us via Twitter @DMUEquestrian and let us know all your horsey happenings over the Christmas period!

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