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2020 ROUND UP - A little bit of a different year to what we expected!

Happy New Year everybody, and quite frankly, well done for getting here! 

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What a year it has been. I started off January 2020 saying to myself, "This is our year, I am making DVR happen this year, nothing is getting in my way." Always the optimist! But I was feeling determined. Little did I know... hahaha!
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Well, January was a incredible month, basically the month that I had intended for the whole year. We had our first full page image in Horse and Hound which I wasn't expecting so that was a beautiful surprise to open up! And I was selected to be introduced to Princess Anne at BETA, another incredible experience and an achievement I am very proud of. 
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And then everything changed. Mid February, when the world stopped. What a weird feeling that was for us all. I feel like the first lock down felt different to any other lock down we will now experience. I know it was a big change and devastating in so many ways, but I think a hell of a lot of us also found it quite special in many ways. I loved the stillness. I love that nature was getting a proper break from humans. I loved not knowing when things would return to normal and feeling as though I had TIME for the first time ever in the business, to really sort stuff out! 
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The thing that was difficult for me was that my loan was sold just as lockdown kicked in, and although many friends had offered me horses to ride, as lockdown hit people were only on the yards to do the bare minimum, so I severely missed being around horses for about 4 weeks. Since we lost our beloved labrador in November 2019 I had stopped walking. I found it hard to face walking in our favourite places or with friends and their dogs, it was too painful feeling like he should be there with us. So starting up cycling and getting out on beautiful bike rides around the countryside was magical for me, and gave me that ease back into being around those places again. I can't believe over a year on I still find it difficult to walk without him. We will get another dog in time, i'm hoping for a rescue.
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 Once people were riding a bit more again, a lovely friend let me start sharing her boy, and so it has been wonderful to experience creating a new bond and exploring new hacking around my favourite areas. We've got forests and the downs, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world with the hacking we have available!
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Anyway, back to business! As the lock down passed one month, I knew we needed to ramp up the social media side of DVR to help support and entertain you lovely people. I decided to launch the 'Conversations from Isolation' Podcast, which ended up being a 6 episode podcast chatting to a range of amazing guests about them, their lives, and general fun, light-hearted horsey things! The podcast is still available from the blog on our website, Spotify and google podcasts.
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We spoke to our lovely Nicole, Callum Banfield, Lydia Heywood, Gracie (PonyNuts), and Natasha Baker MBE.
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On Instagram live we had a quiz night with Eden from @heelsdownandkickon and one with Nicole and I, and potentially the most fun of all was our weekly Instagram and Facebook Live Dancercise and awakening yoga classes with Nicole! Thank you Nicole for all of your amazing work this year.
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We went on the radio to talk about our Environmental award and all things eco-friendly! 
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The next big thing we did was launch the 'Tees for Charities, Tees for Change' collection, beginning with the infamous 'Courage' Tees (Still available today) where profits from each tee went to the NHS and together raised over £400. We later launched a pink version too, with profits this time from the Courage tees going to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in support of our team member Nicole. 
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Our latest Charity tee was an extra special one. Launched in October 2020, the 'Riding the Revolution' tee was a collaboration between Lydia Heywood's foundation 'Cool Ridings' and DVR, with £3 from each tee going to the foundation, and another £3 to the Ebony Horse Club in Brixton. These tees are all about supporting inclusion within the equestrian industry and we were so proud of this project. A huge thank you to the group of amazing influencers and riders that got involved in our campaign video for that. As part of Esme's video with Lydia, they've given one lucky person the chance to win a signed tee too! A huge thank you to Esme for sharing the project with your followers.
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Back in August we did our biggest campaign photoshoot yet, with 5 models at once and two beautiful horses. It was so much fun and the sun came out and showers parted for just the pocket of time we needed for the shoot! A huge thank you to my good friend Bekki for always being so helpful and supportive. 
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We collaborated with some of our long term favourite riders and influencers, but also made new friends along the way in 2020.
We brought your favourite Dexter's out in black! Which went down a storm! And changed all our bumbags to recycled versions. 
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We did our favourite annual Trick or Treat Halloween game (Don't miss it next year if you did this year, it's super fun!)
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And launched the very special Penny pull-on jodhpurs, our first REPREVE fabric style and our first thicker riding pants for all year round. One of the photos of a rider in hers even manage to 'break the equestrian internet' as it were and sent many Facebook groups a little bit bonkers with hundreds of comments! 
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We grew our team by having the wonderfully talented Dede taking on social media and marketing work behind the scenes, thank you Dede for your incredible work in 2020, for being such an independent, hard working, creative and ambitious team member. We had some fantastic guest writers for the blog, thank you girls, you know who you are! 
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We had a few things we wanted to achieve but didn't (Who doesn't!) Such as updated versions of our STYLE VIS wear due to some factory issues, but fear not, we have the MOST exciting samples in the making at the moment which we hope to have ready by Summer! This year we also starting working with some very exciting new people, and had some very exciting meetings too!
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And from a personal note, and one of the most exciting parts of the year for DVR behind the scenes. Was that we have our first EVER proper DVR office space, and I am sitting writing from it right now! It's not finished yet, but now i have a proper space to keep everything in one area and work in my own space, it has really hit me how adaptive and hard I have worked to make this brand happen. And I will carry on in 2021, to make this brand as unique, exciting and innovative as ever.
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We missed seeing you at the shows so much this year, we missed hearing your thoughts on the clothes and chatting all things horsey. We missed the sunshine and picnics and drinks at Hickstead and the magical Christmas atmosphere at Olympia, but we are so grateful to be here, going strong, and entering the new year with so many incredibly exciting things in the pipe line. 
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Image above: DVR Ambassador Josey
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As always, an absolutely huge thank you to my wonderful family and friends for keeping me strong, positive, and believing in myself. A massive thank you to all of those that we have worked with this year, you have all been incredible and I cannot thank you enough, and the biggest thank you to you reading this. Whether you are a newer customer, a customer that's been there from the beginning, or a supporter that's watching and cheering us on from a far. You make this happen. You make it so that I am able to do what I love, designing and producing products to be proud of, and being a leader for change in the industry where we want to see it. 
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2021, bring it on!