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2015 press releases

Posted: 21/04/15

Oxfordshire dressage rider wins Petplan Equine Area Festivals Championship

Emma Leech riding Warrior II, winners of the Petplan Equine Medium Open Championship

Emma Leech riding Warrior II, winners of the Petplan Equine Medium Open Championship

Following a wildcard qualification at Moreton Morell in Warwickshire, 28 year old Emma Leech from Bletchingdon in Oxfordshire has won the Petplan Equine Medium Open Championship of the Petplan Equine Area Festival Finals on Warrior II. These prestigious grassroots championships were held alongside the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire from 15th – 19th April 2015.

Riding Warrior II, a 10 year-old gelding owned by Dedi Leech, Warrior II impressed the judges who awarded the combination a winning score of 69.14% in the Petplan Equine Medium Open Championship from among 28 horse and rider combinations.

“We had a good, steady clear round,” stated Emma, who is also in the middle of planning her wedding in four weeks. “He has recently been ill and had a virus for five weeks, so since his all clear we’ve been very slowly been bringing him back into work, staying away from the arena at home – in case of any dust – so he’s done lots of hacking and roadwork.”

“Usually, he can be wild,” she added. “But I think he felt that I really needed him today, I was really nervous”

Warrior II – aka Wilma – was the first of Dedi’s breeding programme, which she runs alongside her successful catering business, and is trained on a monthly basis by Serena Pincus with mum, Dedi acting as eyes on the ground during the week.

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“We realised that we were never going to have the funds for top level horses and if we wanted one, we’d have to breed them ourselves – and now we’re in our tenth year with four brood mares!”

Now in their 16th year, the Petplan Equine Area Festivals give riders across the levels from Prelim to Intermediate I the chance to experience the thrill of competing in true championship conditions, in a relaxed and friendly environment. More than 3,680 (an increase of 32% on last year’s series) grassroots dressage riders from all over the UK competed at 19 Petplan Equine Area Festivals across the country from July to November 2014, for a chance to qualify and compete for one of the coveted titles.

British Dressage’s Chief Executive Jason Brautigam said: “Since taking up the reins at British Dressage, I have been impressed with the success and popularity of the Petplan Equine Area Festivals series, which is most definitely one of the jewels in our calendar. Thanks to Petplan Equine’s on-going support of these championships, which goes above and beyond their sponsorship contribution, the series has seen a staggering 32% increase in participation year on year and next year we are adding a further three venues to the series.”

Charlotte Collyer, Senior Marketing Executive at Petplan Equine, added: “We are delighted to see how important the Area Festivals have become to amateur and aspiring dressage riders. Not only have we witnessed a meteoric rise in the number of combinations competing over the past year, with the introduction last year of Intermediate I classes, the popularity is clearly matched by the rising talent at grass roots level. We are delighted to be part of a series which provides the perfect showcase and celebrates the talent that is out there. We would especially like to congratulate Emma Leech on her fantastic win and wish her the very best of luck for the future.”

Further information about the Petplan Area Festivals and how to qualify for next year’s finals is available from the Petplan Equine website at: www.petplanequine.co.uk/area-festivals/area-festivals.asp.

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For more information please contact:

Name Telephone Email
Andrea Worrall at The GPC 01608 654040 [email protected]
Tilly Tayler-Levy 01608 654040 [email protected]
  • Petplan Equine offers comprehensive insurance cover for horses and ponies aged from 30 days. Established 25 years ago, Petplan Equine understands the evolving equestrian market and strives to enhance knowledge and understanding of the equine world through employing horse enthusiasts and working closely with the equine industry.
  • Petplan Equine is part of the Petplan brand. Founded in 1976, Petplan is the UK's largest pet insurance provider, offering comprehensive cover for dogs, cats, rabbits and horses.

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Andrea Worrall at The GPC by email: [email protected] t: (01608) 654040