Horseman from Welwyn Garden City takes home three dressage prizes

PUBLISHED: 10:26 07 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:32 07 August 2017

Dressage champion Alexander Harrison celebrates his wins at Hickstead. Image: Angela Christie

Dressage champion Alexander Harrison celebrates his wins at Hickstead. Image: Angela Christie

Angela Christie

Former Welwyn Garden City resident Alexander Harrison has trotted off with three top prizes at one of the biggest riding competitions in the country.

Dressage champion Alexander Harrison and his horse Ruben IV at Hickstead. Image: Angela Christie Dressage champion Alexander Harrison and his horse Ruben IV at Hickstead. Image: Angela Christie

The 20-year-old, who attended Monk’s Walk School until the age of 16, impressed the judges in the Young Rider category at the Hickstead International dressage competition in July this year.

Dressage is an equestrian sport where the horse and rider perform highly skilled moves, often set to music.

Alexander and his horse Ruben IV took home the first places in the team, individual and freestyle competitions. Alexander told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “It was a really good show, I’m super chuffed.”

The most difficult part, he said, was the freestyle competition, where the rider presents their own routine. “I’d already won prizes on the first two days - so there was a lot of pressure to win the third,” he said.

Dressage champion Alexander Harrison and his horse Ruben IV at Hickstead. Image: Angela Christie Dressage champion Alexander Harrison and his horse Ruben IV at Hickstead. Image: Angela Christie

Alexander’s choice of music surprised the crowd at the formal event, as he chose a string arrangement of songs by the Eurythmics, Sia, and Katy Perry.

He said: “A lot of people have a lot of boring old classical music, but I find that a bit too dull.”

Ruben IV, one of five horses that Alexander competes with, may not have approved. “He’s the grumpy old man of the bunch, really,” said Alexander.

“This season he’s coming into his own, and he’s trying really hard in the ring,” Alexander said.

Alexander learned to ride from the age of 11 at a stable near Monk’s Walk School. He took lessons with a friend and got hooked immediately. “My mum and I went straight out and bought a three year-old thoroughbred - not a good idea for an 11 year-old! We didn’t really know what we were doing.”

But as Britain’s youngest dressage judge and a leading instructor, that has changed fast. He is looking forward to his next competition towards the end of the year, in Le Mans, France.

Alexander co-runs Collective Equestrian near Bristol, a livery stable and riding school focusing on dressage, and returns to WGC on an occasional basis to teach masterclasses.

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