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About the festival

For five days each July, Hartpury welcomes Olympic, Paralympic, World and European championship riders. Get up close to the action and be part of this fabulous festival.

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Dressage at Hartpury

Competitions at the Hartpury Festival of Dressage are split into three categories - CDI3*, CPEDI3* and Premier League. In previous years, the festival has welcomed leading horse and rider combinations preparing for Olympic, Paralympic, World and European championships, as well as proving useful for team selectors.

In 2019, Charlotte Dujardin debuted her highly-anticipated musical routine with Mount St John Freestyle, while Paralympians from around the world kicked off their Tokyo 2020 selection campaign.

With over 40 classes taking place during the week, the festival is the perfect place to get up close to your favourite dressage riders.

The 2020 provisional timetable will be confirmed in due course. 

Dressage became an Olympic sport in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm. The first dressage organisation in the UK was the British Horse Society Dressage Group founded in 1961. British Dressage was formed in 1998 at the governing body of dressage in the UK and the organisation now runs 2,000 days of dressage competitions each year for over 13,000 members and 10,000 registered horses.

Para-equestrian dressage riders first took part in the Atlanta Paralympic Games in 1996 and from 2006, para-equestrian dressage became part of the FEI making it an officially recognised international equestrian sport. As of 2012, people with physical and visual disabilities are eligible to compete.

CDI stands for Concours de Dressage International (International Dressage Event) and is held under the rules of the FEI. There are five levels in total - one-star (*), two-star (**), three-star (***), four-star (****) and five-star (*****). Hartpury’s CDI competition is held at the three-star (***) level.

Big Tour and Small Tour

In a CDI, there currently exists the Small Tour and Big Tour. In the Small Tour, a Prix St. Georges on day one is followed by an Intermediate I on day two and an Intermediate Freestyle on day three. In the Big Tour, a first day Grand Prix is followed by a Grand Prix Special or Grand Prix Freestyle on the next day, a choice made by the rider.

CPEDI, or Concours de Para-Equestrian Dressage International, are dressage competitions for riders with disabilities. The CPEDI competition at Hartpury is also held under the rules of the FEI and is held at the three-star (***) level.

There are five grades of para-dressage competition ranging from Grade I - V. Additionally, there are five rider groups determining their eligibility for a particular section (Groups A - E).

Classification

As with other para-sports, riders are classified according to their disability in an attempt to make the sport fairer and create a level playing field. 

For national competitions, riders are classified by British Dressage and RDA (Riding for the Disabled). For international competitions like the one held at Hartpury, the FEI is responsible for classification. This process takes place at two Home International shows - Bishop Burton, and here at Hartpury. 

Depending on the classification, riders are allowed additional arrangements, aids or tack adjustments to help them compete. For example, a partially sighted rider may require additional callers.

Held under the rules of British Dressage and the FEI, the Premier League consists of competitions held at prominent venues around the UK. The classes are often seen as an ideal environment for those combinations gearing up for international competitions. 

For many, they provide the ideal opportunity to chase direct qualification for the National Championships in the FEI classes of Prix St George, Intermediate I and Grand Prix. They are regularly attended by the British Dressage Under 21s selectors so are a great place to spot upcoming talent as well as watching seasoned professionals at work.

Equine talent is recognised with the Shearwater Young Horse Semi-Final, open to 4, 5 and 6-year-old horses who show potential as future dressage stars. Pony talent is also celebrated with the British Dressage Young Pony Championships.

The Festival Gala Evening

Our annual gala evening is a popular and integral part of the festival and takes place on Saturday night. Taking place in the Hartpury Arena, the evening includes the finals of the Elite Stallions Young Horse Prix St George Championship and the NAF Superflex Grand Prix Freestyle.

Entertaining and informative demonstrations from Anna Ross, Charlotte Dujardin, Stephen Clarke and Carl Hester have all added to the evening's popularity, and guests can choose from a range of VIP hospitality packages too.

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Carl Hester and Hawtins Delicato in action at the 2019 Festival of Dressage