Pandemic losses reduced as British Dressage aims to ‘build back better’

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A projected seven-figure post-pandemic loss for 2020 by British Dressage has been clawed back to a forecast loss of £200,000.

British Dressage (BD) CEO Jason Brautigam said membership numbers had fallen by about 1500 on pre-pandemic levels and revenues from competition starter levies and commercial income had also dropped.

Jason Brautigam
BD CEO Jason Brautigam.

But thanks to cost reductions, improved efficiencies and careful planning, the organisation was back on the road to recovery. Brautigam said the main objective for 2021 would be to “build back better” and learn from the experiences of 2020 in order to drive BD forward as a more efficient and effective organisation.

Working groups had evaluated administration overheads, resulting in a staffing reduction of 10% at head office and a realignment of the regions.

“We will be operating with six regions in future rather than eight. New Development Officer roles will cover four larger areas in England (North & East, North & West, South & East, South & West), merging some of the regions together, although Scotland and Wales will be unaffected by these boundary changes,” Brautigam said.

“It will take some time for these changes to be implemented, so further details will follow in the New Year, once we have fully consulted with our regional committees. Importantly we want to ensure that there is a smooth transition to this new regional structure that minimises the impact on our members and volunteers.”

Brautigam said the changes would mean a more streamlined structure. “By operating more efficiently, with a joined-up approach from head office to regional level, we will be in a better position to renew and reinvigorate the sport during the recovery period and over the years ahead.”

To help members and reward their commitment, BD would again freeze membership and horse registration prices for 2021, making it the third year in a row where subscription fees have remained the same. It was also extending horse registrations for all members, and qualification criteria were also being adjusted.

Despite the abandonment of the summer season, the sport made a comeback for the winter season, with a greater number of starters in August and September than last year, with overall numbers during the autumn period about 95% of normal levels. Despite the disruption presented by Covid-19, two new championships were launched; the inaugural British Under 21 Dressage Championships and the BD Middle Tour Festival.

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