Today’s Cheltenham Countryside Day, in aid of Equestrian Team GBR and the Countryside Alliance Foundation, saw British athletes out in force to fundraise for the dressage, eventing, showjumping and para-dressage squads as they prepare for next year’s Games.
The first day of The Open (Friday 13 November) started off with a unique dressage demonstration from World, Olympic and European champion Charlotte Dujardin and 20-time Champion jockey AP McCoy, who took to the Parade Ring in front of a packed out crowd.
The dressage world number one talked to the gathered spectators throughout the demonstration aboard Pro-Set, owned by Sharon Baldwin;
“I’m so, so proud of AP,” Charlotte commented afterwards, “he did an incredible job, he’s spent his life out of the saddle, it’s a completely different way of riding. Two days ago he couldn’t turn and he did so fantastically today, mastering some piaffe and passage; we both really had fun.”
AP said after his ride on Barolo, owned by Anne Cohn, Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin, who won the Grand Prix Freestyle British Dressage National Championship with Charlotte earlier this year; “It’s a different way of riding to everything I was taught – everything you do as a jockey you wouldn’t do as a dressage rider. It was a good experience and I’m very lucky to have someone like Charlotte to show me what to do.”
Elsewhere Tina Cook, Izzy Taylor and 2015 European team silver medallist Kitty King, joined the Cotswold Hunt by kind permission of their Joint Masters, as representatives from 23 registered packs across Britain took part in the Hound Parade out on the course after the second race of the day.
Performance Director Dan Hughes commented on the day’s activity; “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their marvellous support today, for what’s been a fantastic day at Cheltenham, with the opening of their new grandstand. We’re hugely grateful for all the support we receive as we prepare our teams to compete at next year’s Games in Rio. Whilst National Lottery and UK Sport funding is the backbone behind what we do, the fundraising today will go a long way to support the logistical costs of taking our Olympic and Paralympic teams to Brazil next year; thank you all for your support.”
Equestrian Team GBR would like to express their thanks to The Chairman and Directors of Cheltenham Racecourse, The Joint Masters of the Cotswold Hunt, AP McCoy, Hartpury College and all those who donated auction items for their support this year.
Auctions organised by the Countryside Alliance took part during the day with British equestrian athletes supporting the fundraising effort at the auction and Team GBR tradestand; final fundraising figures expected shortly.