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Brand Images (HQ)
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Brand Images (HQ)
Images © Dressage Academy (only to be used in conjuction with the Dressage Academy)
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Directors Images (HQ)
Directors Images (HQ)
Dressage Academy Welcomes Bill Noble to the Team

Dressage Academy Welcomes Bill Noble to the Team

The newly-established Dressage Academy is welcoming one of New Zealand’s equestrian icons to the team. Bill Noble, a cornerstone of dressage in this country, is now a selector for the academy.

“Bill will be a huge asset to the Academy,” says Nicholls. “We are delighted to have him on board.”

Noble needs little introduction, with an impressive list of accomplishments including five Horse of the Year titles on three different horses, is the only rider to have won three consecutive Dressage Horse of the Year crowns and just this year was inducted into the Horse of the Year Hall of Fame.

Over the years the Waikato rider, coach and mentor has worked with many riders both in New Zealand and the UK, including Sir Mark Todd when he won gold at the Seoul Olympics. He has long been a believer in the quality of New Zealand horses, whilst being an advocate for people learning to ride them a little better.

The Dressage Academy was launched in June 2016 and has quickly attracted the attention of potential students, sponsors and supporters. Students lucky enough to be selected will spend at least five years immersed in training giving them the foundation to be top riders, trainers and coaches.

In addition to providing the immersive experience for selected students, the Dressage Academy will also promote and offer education to amateur dressage riders and to the wider equestrian sport in general.

The Dressage Academy is in the final stages of obtaining charity status and will then begin formal fundraising.

There will be announcements in the near future for what will be the first of many events. Proceeds raised at these events will go to the Dressage Academy. First up will be:

  • The Horse’s Back- Performance and Therapy – with Nicolett Geldermann (Living Anatomy of the Horse) and Guy Alexander (Specialist Equine Surgeon) - Canterbury
  • The Truth About Feeding Horses . . . Equine Nutrition Demystified - With Tina Field of Prydes Easifeeds - Canterbury

Keep an eye out on the website for more information on these and other events.

For more information about being a rider, sponsor, or benefactor, head to

New Dressage Academy Launched to Find Future Stars

New Dressage Academy Launched to Find Future Stars

by Diana Dobson
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Long Version

A Christchurch-based former international equestrienne is on a mission to ensure talented young Kiwi dressage riders have every opportunity to make it to the top.

British dressage representative Brugs Nicholls is part of an initiative to launch the Dressage Academy where talented young riders will be trained and supported to top level.

"The aim of the academy is to provide those riders with the opportunity to become New Zealand's next generation of international stars," says Nicholls. "Our focus is on talent and with the costs of training and horse covered, we will open the door to those who may not usually have access to either."

On graduation, riders will not only be able to train other horses to FEI Grand Prix (Olympic level) but also to coach other budding young dressage stars, passing their knowledge to up-and-coming riders.

All of their training, as well as the horsepower, is fully funded by the Dressage Academy, through sponsors, benefactors and grants, with the Academy timetable structured to allow riders to also attend university or work.

Each young rider will be partnered with one of the Academy's young horses for the five or more years it will take to bring a horse through to Grand Prix level, and they'll need plenty of tenacity and dedication to stay on course, according to Nicholls.

The Dressage Academy will follow her development programme, integrating the best of her mentor's methods from the Spanish Riding School, with systems and techniques used by many of the top international competitors and trainers today.

Over the past three years, Nicholls has successfully put her program (see to the test by working with 19-year-old Sophie Griffiths and 15-year-old Lily Barrett-Power. Griffiths has gained credible scores in her first year at introductory international dressage levels (Prix St George), while Barrett-Power is winning at the first national competitive level of dressage on a four-year-old mare who has only been under saddle for six months. Both young riders have trained these horses themselves from the beginning under Nicholls' direction.

Nicholls has long been passionate about sharing her knowledge with promising young riders through contributing to Dressage New Zealand's Young Rider camps.

Every dream needs a team and to make the Dressage Academy a reality, sponsors and benefactors are needed to partner with Nicholls on her journey to develop New Zealand's talent.

There are no restrictions on who can be part of this team, or on the size and type of contributions - individuals and groups, companies and corporations - all are needed to take this vision to its completion.

Applications from potential students will be sought later in the year once funding has been established.

For more information, head to .

Notes to editors -

About Brugs Nicholls

Nicholls has trained and competed three horses to FEI Grand Prix level (the highest in international dressage competition). Her horse Cockley Cley Weatherman was long-listed for the British Olympic Team in the 1980s and she has ridden and trained a number of other horses to Prix St. George level (the start of the international competition levels).

Nicholls represented Great Britain for five years at both young and senior rider levels aboard Cockley Cley Weatherman who she trained from scratch while being coached by Herr Franz Rochowansky, the retired chief rider at the Spanish Riding School. She has loaned her horses to young riders to allow them to continue to follow their dreams of representing their country.

A Horse and Hound article written by Jane Kidd in 1988 identified Nicholls as the youngest rider in the United Kingdom to train their own horse to Grand Prix and then go on to represent the country at international events.

For more information on the Dressage Academy, contact:

Brugs Nicholls on 03 5950215 or email

Short Version

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