Para dressage star Anne Dunham OBE, has today announced her retirement from the sport.
With a career spanning over 23 years, Anne first represented Great Britain at the Para-Equestrian Dressage World Championships in 1994. She has since gone on to amass a staggering 32 championship medals for her country - 19 of which are gold!
Anne, who has been a member of the equestrian UK Sport National Lottery-funded World Class Programme since its inception, commented; “This has been a hard decision, but I know it is right because I don’t want to start with a new horse and then have to part with him; Tokyo is four years away and I’ll be in my 70’s then and it’s time to give others a chance. I’ve loved it all, it’s been exciting, I’ve met some wonderful people and have travelled the world; I’ve done things I would never imagined I would have done. Horses and dressage has given me a varied and happy life.
“I must thank Pammy Hutton from Talland, who has been with me on this rollercoaster of a ride, supported me, helped me with owners and horses, trained me and become a great friend. My daughter Amber, who has groomed for me since 2000, travelled the world with me and given up her time to support me – I wouldn’t have had the success I have achieved if we hadn’t been on this journey together, and for the last few years, my sister Gill, who has travelled with us and has helped generally keeping me in order.
“World Class and the Lottery have made it all possible for me, as they have for so many other athletes, and have helped to take us to the height we are at now. Thank you to all the Lottery players who have made this all possible.”
Across five Paralympic Games the sixty-eight year old has won ten medals, and with LJT Lucas Normark, owned by the Lady Joseph Trust and Henrietta Cheetham, helped ParalympicsGB defend their team title at last year’s Paralympic Games. As well as contributing to the team result, Anne also brought home two precious individual silver medals, and in the process, helped the equestrian team to its most successful Games to date.
Para-Equestrian Dressage Performance Manager Sarah Armstrong said; “Having met Anne for the first time in 2008 ahead of the Beijing Games, I’ve been privileged to work alongside her in an operational capacity at many championships. Rio 2016 gave me a further opportunity to work closely with Anne, this time as her Team Manager and I was truly delighted to have been able to support Anne in her journey to an amazing Games, which saw her play an integral part of the gold medal team and deliver personal bests to secure two individual silvers.
“Throughout her longstanding career Anne has been supported not only by her daughter Amber, as her groom, and her sister Gill, as carer, at all major championships but also by her long term home coach, Pammy. For Anne to close her career on such a high note must be an immensely proud moment for her, her family and her home coach. A dry sense of humour and immense whit coupled with her depth of knowledge in all things equestrian will be sorely missed by the whole World Class Programme Podium squad. We wish her well in her next adventure.”
British Dressage’s Chief Executive, Jason Brautigam added; “Anne’s immense contribution to para-equestrian dressage over the past two decades cannot be under-estimated. She has been the flag bearer for our sport ever since dressage was first introduced at the Paralympics in 1996. From Atlanta to Rio, Anne has played an enormous part in ensuring that Great Britain has remained undefeated in the team competition, as well as her fantastic individual medal success. She will be sorely missed by everyone involved in Team GBR and, along with her legions of fans and supporters, we wish her the very best for a long and happy retirement.”
Chef de Mission for ParalympicsGB at Rio 2016, Penny Briscoe commented; “I have had the pleasure of knowing Anne since 2002 and have worked with her across four Paralympic cycles. When I first met Anne what stood out for me was her unerring drive to be the best she could be and her uncompromising approach to delivering performance on the biggest stage of all at the Paralympic Games. The fact that Anne remained at the top level in her sport for so many Paralympic cycles is not only incredibly impressive but testimony to her professionalism and drive as an elite athlete.
“I’m sure the decision to retire has been a difficult one for Anne. Today, however, is a day to remember and celebrate Anne’s long and successful career in para-equestrian and as a member of ParalympicsGB. Both from me and on behalf of colleagues at the BPA, I wish her all the best in whatever she chooses to do next.”