These annual championships started in 1975. They were introduced in order to give more novice competitors the opportunity to compete in a championship than was available at that time from riding clubs’ HQ. The L&SE Championships also allow more teams per Area to qualify than is possible at the national championships.
There are two separate championship dates each year. One includes horse trials, riding test, dressage and show jumping team championships, and the other has dressage to music with classes for individuals from intro level up to elementary plus pairs DTM and two costume classes – Pas Seul and Pas de Deux.
The first HT/D/RT/SJ championship was run by Sally Doyle at Goodwood with the help of Area 13. Area 13 continued to be involved in the running of the championships from 1976 through to 1979 but in 1978 they were run at Mattingley and in 1979 at Wellington. John and Ann Foss became involved in running the championships in 1978 and Sally’s involvement ceased after Wellington.
John and Ann, with support from Area 11, then ran the horse trials, dressage, riding test and show jumping championships until 2002 after which it was decided that each Area would take turns to run the championships, with Area 9 (London) being the first to do so in 2003. The championships have continued to run annually since, apart from three occasions when they had to be cancelled due to extreme circumstances: 1981 when the venue was flooded, and then in 1993 and 2001 due to outbreaks of foot and mouth disease.
John and Ann continued to organise the dressage to music championships until 2013, after which Area 13 took over the running of these championships.
Since the inception of these championships, Areas which have comprised the L&SE championship region have included 6, 9 (the former London Area), 10, 11, 13 and 17 (Hampshire).
Currently the L&SE Championships are open to teams (of three or four riders, one of whom can be a junior) and in the case of the DTM championships individuals and pairs, that have qualified from the following Areas:
Area 6 – Berkshire, Buckinghamshire as well as South Oxfordshire
Area 10 – Kent and East Sussex as well as that part of East Surrey near Kent
Area 11 – Surrey
Area 13 – South Coast (Sussex and part of Hampshire)