FOLLOWING a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19 restrictions, 11 Irish dressage judges, from Lists 3A, 2 and 1, travelled over to the newly-revamped Hickstead Premier League last weekend for two days’ training at Prix St George and Grand Prix level with Mary-Anne Horn.

In addition to training, judges wishing to upgrade to the next level had the opportunity to ‘practice judge’ at that level. “This is a requirement and part of the upgrading examination protocol,” explained Dermot Cannon, chairperson of Dressage Ireland’s judges’ committee, who added: “The number of horses competing at the higher levels in the UK is staggering and provides opportunities for Irish judges to fulfil their training requirements.”

The weather was beautiful on Saturday for day three of the ICE Horseboxes Dressage Festival which had the Irish contingent all wearing sunglasses as they watched Irish international Dane Rawlins compete before five judges in the 36-strong FEI Grand Prix on Espoire, scoring 67.522%.

Dane was delighted to see them and appreciated the round of applause they gave him before he and Espoire joined them for a group photograph. The sunglasses weren’t needed on Sunday as the group all sought shelter from the rain.