Tag Archives: Eventing uk

Tom Carlile Upsilon WC

Carlile and Upsilon are King’s of the Castle whilst Wilson and Bulana are Queen’s

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The St James’s Place Barbury Castle Horse Trials delivered masterful action from six of the top ten event riders in the world. Plus fairy tale results for horses and riders who have come back from injury and a crisis of confidence.

 

It was a win for French rider Tom Carlile and his magical grey stallion Upsilon, in the fourth leg of the Event Rider Master Series at Barbury Castle. “Only a three wins left and we can equal the legend, Andrew Nicholson”, said an enthused Tom, who has been experiencing a bit of an “off-period” with the 10 year old French bred. “He did lose a bit of confidence at the Euros (European Championships, Strzegom 2017) and he showed it again in Arville- I think we just need a couple more nice runs like today before we think about anything else too big.”

 

Upsilon was one of just seven horses to jump clear in the showjumping, which otherwise produced some cricket scores from usually reliable combinations. These included World No1 rider Oliver Townend and Cillnabradden Evo, Mark Todd and NZB Campiono and Badminton winner Jonelle Price. So it happens to the best of us!

 

Tom and Upsilon went into the final phase in the lead and his largely fluent looking cross-country round over Mark Phillips challenging track, suggested the horse was back to form. “The way he jumped the first skinny fence, straight through the flags with no hesitation, showed the mood he was in. It was just what we needed. Upsilon loves Barbury and so do I”, he said.

 

World No 2 Gemma Tattersall took second place with Clive Smith’s Pamero 4. This is another horse who has come good this season, having been plagued by injury in the past. “I’m so proud of the horse”, said Gemma. “The beginning of the season wasn’t easy as we have had a few injuries but that is horses.”

 

Australian Chris Burton was the rider to jump clear inside the time in the ERM section, which left him in third place on Polystar I.

Nicola Wilson Bulana WC

Nicola Wilson and the precociously talented mare Bulana took top prize in the CIC 3*. This was Nicola’s first big win after suffering an ankle injury and the result hopefully securing her place on the British team heading to WEG in September.

 

There was a time when stallions and mares were considered far less likely to win at top level eventing and this was often put down to hormones. Increasingly horses like Upsilon and Bulana are dispelling that myth. We would love to hear your thoughts as to why we are seeing more compete successfully as well as your own stories of owning a talented mare or stallion.

 

Written by Ellie Kelly

Tina Cook sj

B is for Bigger, Better, Barbury

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Chris BurtonImage by Benjamin Clarke Photography

If you want to see eventing at it’s finest and fancy a cheeky preview of many of the horse and rider combinations likely to be heading to the World Equestrian Games in North Carolina this September, then head to the St James’s Place Barbury Horse Trials ( 5-8th July).

 

Barbury has undoubtedly become one of the premier international events of the equestrian calendar. It attracts the leading professional riders as well as the amateurs at the top of their game, so has never been short of thrilling action. With around 1000 horses to see this year, from one of the best spectator-viewing spots around, you certainly won’t be bored.

 

The four day event runs more international horses than any other UK event. Who come from all over the UK and even the world, to contest the ultimate cross-country challenge set by Captain Mark Phillips. He also designs Burghley, Gatcombe and Lexington. This year offers a CIC3* class as well as the fourth leg of the Event Rider Masters Series (ERM) plus sections of CIC2*, a final Pony Trial for the European Championships and seven Novice sections. Even the Novice sections include the best of the best at that level and with the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse classes staged on Thursday; this really is a chance to see the stars of tomorrow as well as today.

 

Don’t quote us on this but Barbury has often been used as an “unofficial trial” for major Championships like WEG and the Olympics and this year is expected to be the same. It’s not just the British riders under the spotlight either. With a significant number of foreign eventers based over here, don’t be surprised you are in the midst of team selectors from several nations.

 

The entries list has an eye-popping number of medal and 4* winning riders and the World number one and two- Horse Scout Advocate Oliver Townend and Gemma Tattersall. Then there is Andrew Nicholson, certainly the most successful Barbury rider of all time, having won the CIC3* consecutively, five times from 2012 to 2016. Other gifted Antipodeans in the line-up include Badminton babe Jonelle Price and her husband Tim plus Sir Mark Todd, last year’s Burghley winner, Chris Burton and Blyth Tait- who has also designed this year’s Novice course. The Brits include European Champion Nicola Wilson on her gold medal-winning mare Bulana, Tina Cook, William Fox-Pitt and Horse Scout advocate Emily King. Plus our very own CEO, Lucienne Elms is taking a rare day off to compete her 3* horse, Mistralou who she is aiming to take 4* next year.

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The Barbury nightlife is as good as any at an event. With parties on Friday and Saturday, you may find it hard to leave, especially after you have seen your eventing heroes pulling their moves on the dance floor. From personal experience, I can reassure you that in most cases- their talents lie elsewhere.

 

This year, changes have been made to the event layout, to give a better experience both for the riders and spectators. The final decision on this was made after the Organisers sought feedback from the riders on to improve the event. Which is very positive news, given that the Barbury Estate was sold to new owners last year and some were in doubt that the event would continue to run. The event is now “owned” by ERM, so we can be confident that Barbury Horse Trials, is here to stay.

 

Arena attractions include The JCB Champions’ Challenge on Saturday, all in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund. This is where top National Hunt Jockeys, including Champion Jockey, Richard Johnson and Sam Twiston-Davies, take on eventers Mark Todd, Jonelle and Tim Price and Lissa Green, in a relay show jumping competition.

 

Furthermore, there will be no need to feel guilty about dragging the family along. There is a “Kidzone” with a mini-zoo and real life meerkats; a dog show and dog agility masterclass with a World Champion agility competitor. Of course there is also tonnes of shopping and some great British nosh. So bring deep pockets and empty stomachs.

… But In the words of Baz Lurhmann, don’t forget to wear Sunscreen.

 

To buy tickets and for more information, visit www.barburyhorsetrials.co.uk

Written by Ellie Kelly

Cover Image by Adam Dale

 

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EMILY KING

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EMILY KING

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Horse Scout advocate Emily King must be on cloud nine at the moment. The 22 year old is on winning form after claiming the Under 25 title at Bramham, has an exciting string of horses, a hot boyfriend who she is just about to move in with. And with 56,200 followers on Instagram, you could say she is pretty popular. Popular enough for her supporters to put their money where their mouth is too. After setting up a crowd-funding campaign to keep the ride on a promising young horse, some 556 people donated to reach the £40,000 required to buy him from his owner.

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This month, Emily beat off strong opposition to win the British Horse Feeds Under 25 CCI3* at Equi-Trek Bramham Horse Trials, making her the National Champion at this level. Outstandinglym, she finished on her dressage score of 25.5 with Dargun, a horse by Valiant she has produced from a youngster for owner Jane Del Missier. The pressure was on when she went into the showjumping as after second-placed Thibault Fournier from France had jumped clear, Emily and the 10 year old Dargun could not afford a pole. The crowd gasped when the pair rattled the first fence but it stayed in place and they kept their cool to complete a fabulous clear and the only rider to finish on their dressage score. Her boyfriend Sam Ecroyd joined her on the podium with a third place on Master Douglas.

 

Speaking after her round Emily about her horse “He felt amazing today! When I got on him in the warm-up, he was bucking and squealing- it helps him with his spring and attention if he’s a bit jolly. The crowd helps him rather than distracting him and the fences were quite spooky, which helps too.”

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Emily has been living at home in Sidmouth, Devon with her family all her life. She has always shared a yard with her mother, Mary King- one of the greatest event riders of all time. But this summer she will be making “the big leap” to move to Cheshire to share a yard with her boyfriend, who also events internationally and already runs an equestrian business up there.

 

Her relocation was one of the reasons the previous owner of Langford Take the Biscuit had to sell the six year old gelding, which prompted Emily’s crowdfunding campaign. All those who donated will be invited to watch “Hobby” compete, to yard-visits and also to join her on course walks. So it’s a great initiative for people who would love to be involved in a horse but do not have the money to own one. Furthermore, Emily has pledged to donate all of the horse’s future prize money to charity, the chosen one being World Horse Welfare.

Written by Ellie Kelly

Images by William Carey and Tim Wilkinson

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BADMINTON- The year of the legends

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BADMINTON- the year of the legends

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The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials never fails to make a big splash in terms of gripping action and great moments. There’s a good reason it is one of the top five most attended sporting events in the UK and it is one of just a handful of equestrian events which is broadcast on national television these days. But what played out this year was nothing short of epic. It is fair to say that the tales thrown up at the 69th edition of Badminton, should probably go down in the history books.

 

It was a great year for the girls. Jonelle Price became the first female winner in 11 years with the evergreen mare Classic Moet, a talented and long-term coupling who have been knocking on the four star door for several years. The last female winner was in 2007 and another much loved female partnership of Lucinda Frederick and Headley Britannia had their day.

 

Jonelle’s win really emphasised the significance of a strong relationship between horse and rider. Speaking after her cross-country round she said: “I felt the pressure on the cross-country that she could go near the time but you just have to get out there and do your job and I know her so well. It’s a real partnership,” she explained. After scoring one of the few clear show-jumping rounds to secure her win, Jonelle summed up her emotions: “Being a CCI4* winner is an elite club to join and it’s been something that has eluded me for a while now, so to now join it – especially here at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials – is very, very special.”

 

The fact that Jonelle won one of the most hard-fought Badminton’s we have seen, just eight months after giving birth to her son, was not only an incredible feat but particularly inspiring for all women, girls and working mums, whether their biological ticks or not. When she was asked whether motherhood had made any difference to her mentality or the way she rode, Jonelle responded: “No, the only difference is that when I went to get on for cross-country, I had “Incey Wincey Spider” stuck in my head, so that was certainly a first.”

 

Classic Moet- a pure thoroughbred also became a mum last year (theoretically), in the shape of two embryo transfer fillies by the stallion, Upsilon.

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In addition, there were four female riders in the top ten this year and a female dominance we haven’t witnessed at the British four-stars for some time. Britain’s Ros Canter and Gemma Tattersall took 3rd and 4th spot respectively, two ladies who should surely be heading to Tryon for the FEI World Equestrian Games in September this year.

 

With an all-star cast on the entries list, there was inevitably going to be drama, masterful riding and great action. Eric Winter made his stamp on Badminton last year, with a big bold course, which caught more than half the field out that time. This year, the general consensus from riders was that the jumps were marginally kinder but still imposing and a true four star but with the added challenge of seriously holding ground conditions and the fact that many British based riders were lacking match practice after so many early season events were cancelled.

The wet winter and further rainfall on the preceding days had taken it’s toll. When the sun shone on the first two days, it worsened conditions further making the ground tacky and together with a warmer climate it was even more energy-sapping. The result was that no rider made it around the 4.2 mile course inside the time. Yet the 74 % completions and only one serious horse injury to report, made for a fairly happy Course Designer.

Photo from hopedeamer1-12

We had three Horse Scout advocates competing: Giovanni Ugolotti, Joseph Murphy and Oliver Townend. All finished in the top 27 with a clear cross-country. Oliver was still on a high from his win at Kentucky and was hungry for the Rolex Grand Slam. He was named the new World Number One for the first time in his life. Despite some impressive performances with his two horses, he had to settle for runner up to Jonelle with Cooley SRS and fifth with Ballaghmor Class.

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Last year’s winner, Andrew Nicholson was never going to rest on his laurels and had saved Armada for the big occasion. Certainly fitting that he chose to retire his legendary and most noble steed at Badminton, in front of a teary eyed crowd. It was a poignant moment when he was led out of the arena, after a formidable 13 year career which included finishing in the top 12 at 10 four star events. As well as winning Pau four-star in 2012 and Badminton in 2017, with Andrew, Nereo was a mainstay of the New Zealand team for some time, winning team bronze and individual fourth at the London Olympics and individual and team bronze at the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

 

Emotions were raw by the time it came to Ben Hobday’s announcement that he was retiring crowd favourite Mulrys Error. The unorthodox eventer, who jumped a number of clears at four-star level and became affectionately known as “super cob” will now have a less demanding job of educating Ben’s stable jockeys. He may also be seen at some Eventing Grand Prix in the future.

 

Another “end to an era” looked like it was going to take place at Badminton, as Michael Jung was muttering something about retiring La Biothetique- Sam FBW (aka Sam) this year. The 18 year old has been quite simply the most successful eventer of all time, having won the World Championships, the European Championships, two Olympic gold medals and four out of his seven four star events, mostly finishing on his dressage score.

 

However, this year Badminton was not to be for the dynamic duo. One suspects Michi brought Sam to Badminton to win it and with an uncharacteristic two rails in the showjumping, he is unlikely to bow out with him just yet. Sam still looked like a five year old and was as spring-heeled as ever in difficult conditions, so it would be wonderful to see him at Burghley. Michi gave us an education in cross-country riding and Sam gave us one heart-stopping moment at the first corner jump into The Mound, when he left a leg, otherwise it was poetry in motion to watch.

 

We also said a final farewell to Mike Tucker, he stepped down from his BBC role last year but sadly succumbed to a heart-attack just months into his retirement. The “Voice of Equestrian” will be sorely missed. His communicated our equestrian sport with charm and wit. Mike often said the wrong thing but in this crazy age of political correctness, we loved him for his slight defiance.

 

I was there in my role as Assistant Producer for the BBC, which means I get to help make the Highlights Show, which goes out on the Sunday afternoon. I advise them on what should be covered in first place in our mini-documentary and do a number of off-cam interviews with riders. It means I really am in the thick of it and ensconced in the stables or riders lorry park for much of the week. Most of the BBC crew have never ridden a horse in their lives, which I think helps give another perspective, as we also have to educate and entertain the horse-ignorant as well as the avid enthusiast. This year, we all agreed was the best yet in terms of twists and turns, stories and fairy tale endings. Interviews with William Fox-Pitt, returning to Badminton for the first time since his serious brain injury in 2015 plus Andrew Nicholson, Piggy French and the blacksmith who had been the resident farrier at Badminton since 1953, left us all a bit emotional.

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Written by Ellie Kelly