Local Dressage Star Continues to Shine
- By Sally Lawson
Local dressage star, Brugs Nicholls, has again demonstrated her expertise in the dressage arena, taking out the Champion Grand Prix Dressage Horse at the 2014 Canterbury Dressage Championships in early December.
Brugs was riding SH Vinny, a beautiful 12 year-old mare imported from Holland 6 years ago. Since then, this formidable partnership of rider and horse has dominated the Canterbury dressage arena, consistently being placed in Canterbury and National dressage events.
Brugs’ and Vinny’s achievements this year alone include Reserve Champion in the South Island Dressage Championships - Level 8; Bates National Champs Level 8 4th Overall; 1st - Canterbury Dressage Autumn Graded - 8A; 1st - Canterbury Dressage Spring Graded - 8A and 1st - Grand Prix Canterbury Dressage Spring Graded event.
Brugs’ rise to dressage stardom began in the UK where for many years she was classically trained by the master of dressage himself - Franz Rochowansky (Rocky), together with Vicky Thompson. Rocky was the Oberbereiter (Chief Rider) at the world famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna between 1937 - 1955 before leaving to train the UK Olympic Dressage team. He also became the Olympic team trainer for the Netherlands and USA. Tutelage from him was indeed something to be revered, and Brugs went on to become Head Girl at Rocky’s UK yard.
Brugs subsequently trained three horses to Grand Prix level, including being acknowledged in 1987 as “the youngest ever combination to compete and train their own horse to Grand Prix level in England”. She was named as Reserve Rider British Team for YR European Championships in 1986, and also long-listed for the Olympics team in 1988.
Since arriving in NZ, Brugs has established the renowned Elite Dressage Training facility near Burnham and where she not only breeds and trains quality young-stock for her yard and for sale, she continues the work of “Rocky” whose philosophy was simply “I must teach what I was taught”. In so doing, Brugs brings the discipline and world-class dressage standards of the Spanish Riding School to New Zealand.
This year alone, Brugs has coached and mentored rising stars to success: 14-year-old Lily Barrett-Power. Lily took out the Level 4 Champion Pony at the 2014 Canterbury Dressage Championships on Rifesyde Prancer.
Brugs acknowledges the huge part played by sponsors and volunteers in the success of Canterbury Dressage events, and in particular would like to acknowledge Conqueror International (Garage Doors), as main sponsors of the Canterbury Dressage Championships; Class sponsors, Zilco and Superior Rubber Surfaces.
The formidable trio of Brugs and Lily will definitely be ones to watch in the dressage arena in 2015.
See more about Brugs and her yard on www.brugs.co.nz