The British Riding Clubs Quadrille of the Year 2021 took place on Saturday evening 2 October 2021 at Bury Farm Equestrian Village in Buckinghamshire.
It was wonderful to see riding club teams of four riders coming forward this year to contest the prestigious Quadrille of the Year, and it felt great to have this exciting competition back at Bury Farm, after missing out in 2020 due to Covid restrictions. Quadrille is a carefully choreographed display of horsemanship which tells a story, set to an entertaining arrangement of music, with a team of four riders wearing appropriately themed, and often elaborate costumes.
The teams were initially marked on their overall turnout. With the three judges; Richard Baldwin a List 1 Dressage Judge, Jane Domhill BHS Trustee and Showing Judge and Janet Zaldats a List 4 Dressage Judge, then watching the displays. They marked the content of each carefully put together performance, adding marks for the artistic impression, to reach an overall score.
“I enjoyed judging the Quadrille teams, loved the variety of ideas and very clever ways of incorporating the horses into the costume themes. Less is more does not apply to good quadrille costumes and the amount of home-made effort was fantastic. I was in awe of some of the attention to detail!
Then we saw some very intricate and at times tricky floor plans – risks were taken and the confident and exciting Angels really excelled – and their enjoyment shone through for their win. All riders, back up teams and trainers deserve huge credit.
The judges had a lot of pressure to consider, comment and mark all aspects of the competition in a limited time. Thank you to all involved in every aspect of Quadrille teams for making a special night quite spectacular!” Janet Zaldats – Quadrille Judge
This year’s themes included: Essendon & Epping Forest RC with their wonderful team of black Shetland ponies replicating Toy Soldiers Changing Guards at Buckingham Palace.
Saffron Walden & District RC produced a very regal knights inspired theme, entitled ‘When a Knight Won his Spurs’. This was followed by Penistone & District RC with “We’re off to the Butterfly Ball’ where we saw an intricate costume change when the Penistone caterpillars metamorphosed into beautiful butterflies.
Ingatestone & Blackmore RC took us on Safari to Africa, with a topical key message highlighting the importance of conservation, entitled ‘Re-wild the World’. This was followed by Cornwall TREC Group and their portrayal of ‘My Fair Lady’, with Eliza Doolittle practising her speech with Henry Higgins.
But it was the team from the Vale of Arrow RC who brought the house down with their fabulous display of ‘War in Heaven’, in which they perfectly demonstrated all the skills required of a winning quadrille team and thrilled both the crowd and the judges. Their Angel costumes were truly amazing, with a clever floorplan, set to an incredible musical score. Giving them the highest marks of the evening, to finish in first place on 93.06%.
“We never gave up with our journey to the BRC Quadrille Championships, hoping on a wing and a prayer that we would not go into lockdown again. ‘War in Heaven’ seemed an apt theme for the challenges which we were all struggling with in our daily lives. Through hard work, sheer determination and incredible teamwork we got there, even a fuel shortage was not going to stop us.
We wanted to perform the story, overlaying the theatrics of our costumes with the building momentum of our music. The dream became a reality and the vision played out perfectly. On the night everything aligned and it was the performance of a lifetime. It was the most incredible experience.” Anne Bliss, Vale of Arrow RC Quadrille Team
The Vale of Arrow RC Team
Anne Bliss riding Mr Harlequin Man
Sarah Jane Layton riding Ralph
Pip Jones riding Maerle Van Rijnwoude
Katherine Loupart riding Clover Quest
1st Vale of Arrow RC – ‘War in Heaven’ – 93.06%
2nd Saffron Walden & District – ‘When a Knight Won His Spurs’ – 81.39%
3rd Penistone & District RC – ‘We’re Off to the Butterfly Ball’ – 80.83% (scores separated on artistic merit)
4th Ingatestone & Blackmore RC – ‘Re-wild the World’ – 80.83% (scores separated on artistic merit)
“Once again we had an incredible night of entertaining performances. A big thank you must once again go to our wonderful BRC judges and volunteers who without them these championships would simply not be possible.” Rachael Hollely-Thompson, BRC Manager.
Horse & Country TV were on site live streaming all of this year’s Quadrille of the Year, giving BRC members the opportunity to watch the event live and on catch-up from the comfort of their homes.