Tag Archives: Piggy March

All Glory for Great Britain’s Golden Girls at Avenches

L to R – Sarah Bullimore (bronze), Nicola Wilson (gold), and Piggy March (silver). (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

British riders have long had a phenomenal record in the sport of Eventing, and they proved untouchable once again when not only clinching the team title but taking all the individual medals at the FEI Eventing European Championships 2021 in Avenches, Switzerland.

In the lead from day one they held on tight, and when this result is added to double-gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 and the team title along with individual silver at this summer’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, they clearly reign supreme in every sense.

It was a tough day for the defending champions from Germany as the dream of a seventh victory for the team and a third consecutive individual gold medal for Ingrid Klimke and SAP Hale Bob OLD didn’t come true, as they had to settle for silver. But in true sporting fashion the German team “elder,” Andreas Dibowski, said, “We won the silver, but we didn’t lose the gold. The Brits did an amazing job, and we just couldn’t beat them!”

Team Sweden stood on the third step of the podium.

First

Ros Canter and Allstar B were first of the British into the ring as the final showjumping phase got underway. Theirs was not a counting score for the team standings that left her side still out in front last night, but the pair who claimed double-gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 were back to their classy selves when producing a quality clear, and that proved a good omen for the rest of their team.

A total of 52 horse-and-athlete combinations made it through to this final test, with 13 nations still in the mix, and by the time it came down to the last ten riders the tension was palpable. As the action began, the Germans were just under 10 penalty points behind the British at the head of affairs, with France lying in bronze medal position another 18 points further adrift but with only three team members left after the elimination of Gwendolen Fer. So when Stanislas de Zuchowicz and Covadys de Triaval hit the first element of the double at fence nine and Jean Lou Bigot’s Utrillo du Halage left three fences on the floor, then French chances were slipping away.

Andreas Dibowski and FRH Corrida produced an opening clear for Germany before Anna Siemer and FRH Butts Avondale also fell victim to the first element of the triple combination. But Michael Jung steered fischerWild Wave home with nothing to add, and then only Klimke and SAP Hale Bob OLD were left to go.

However, it was only an individual medal Klimke was chasing by the time she took her turn, because as Dibowski said later, the British were just too good for the rest. Team member Kitty King’s Vendredi Biats hit the second fence, but Piggy March’s Brookfield Inocent was foot-perfect. And when Nicola Wilson’s JL Dublin went clear, she not only finalised the British tally at 73.1 for the winning team score, but she also had individual gold in her grasp while, lying fourth as the action began, March had the silver and British individual Sarah Bullimore had the bronze. It was a staggering result.

Pressure

Fifth-last to go, Bullimore piled the pressure on the remaining four with a fabulous clear from Corouet. And when Frenchman Maxime Livio, lying in bronze medal spot, faulted in the middle of the combination and then Klimke, holding silver, hit the vertical three from home, it would be an all-British individual podium for the seventh time in the history of these Championships. The last British threesome to do the same were Ian Stark (Glenburnie), Richard Walker (Jacana), and Karen Straker (Get Smart) at Punchestown (IRL) in 1991.

Meanwhile, Sweden also had plenty to celebrate when clears from both Malin Jesefsson (Golden Midnight) and Malin Petersen (Charly Brown) and a single error from Sara Algotsson Ostholt (Chicuelo) saw the team, that also included Christoffer Forsberg (Hippo’s Sapporo), rise from overnight sixth place to take bronze.

“I’m back in the team for first time in ten years and it’s great to be with the girls!” Forsberg said. “I’ve been really happy with the team spirit, and I want to thank the organisers very much for putting on this show.” And that was echoed by everyone else at the end of this extraordinary event that was put together so successfully in a few short months.

Trainer

At the post-competition press conference, Germany’s Ingrid Klimke said with a laugh, “I have one thing to say to the Brits – they stole our trainer!” referring to Britain’s Eventing High Performance coach Chris Bartle, who helped her country to many successes in previous years. “But I’m very happy for them; they did a wonderful job!” she added.

Her compatriot, the effusive Anna Meier, was thrilled to earn her first medal at Senior Championship level. “I feel like I’m always in a team with my horse, but to be in a team with these guys is wonderful; they’ve won millions of medals between them but this is my first!” she said, looking around at Dibowski, Klimke, and Jung.

Bullimore described her 10-year-old gelding Corouet as “just a freak of nature! He’s phenomenal in all phases; he could do pure show jumping and pure dressage; he’s unique,” she said. “He has a huge attitude in a small package, he knows how cool he is, and he’s been fantastic all week,” she added. Her individual bronze was an especially precious result because she bred the horse and also competed his dam at the FEI European Championships in Blair Castle (GBR) in 2015.

March, team gold medallist at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018 and team silver medallist at the last FEI European Eventing Championships two years ago, described her individual silver medal winning ride Brookfield Inocent as “definitely one of the best I’ve ever ridden – in all three phases he couldn’t have done any more!” And she added, “Personally, I think that if we’re ahead of Ingrid Klimke and Micky Jung then that’s a medal in itself, wherever we’d finish! This has just been a fabulous week!”

Reflected

Meanwhile, newly crowned individual European champion Wilson reflected on the enormity of it all with her trademark modesty. “This has been very very special, being with this fantastic group of girls who all get along really well. It’s been fun all the way and the horses have been phenomenal.

“It’s a first championship for Dublin; he missed a bit of time when I injured my neck (two years ago) and then Covid came long, but now I’m so proud for my owners. I was delighted with his dressage; it just felt very solid and good and then he stormed around the cross-country and produced a beautiful round in the show jumping. How lovely it is to have had him since he was a young horse and to build that lovely partnership and trust between us,” she said with quiet pride, adding, “Thank you to Switzerland for putting on these Championships!”

Gratitude

Everyone expressed their gratitude to the Organising Committee headed up by Jean-Pierre Kratzer, President of the Institut Equestre National d’Avenches, where this week’s event has taken place. A total of 21,000 spectators came through the gates of the fabulous venue, including over 10,000 on cross-country day.

“I built this place 20 years ago for racing, and to expand our business we then built a training centre for 150 horses. Last year during Covid, we were asked to help riders in preparation for Tokyo and we took the opportunity to plan for the future and help develop Eventing here,” he explained.

“When we got the opportunity to organise these Championships I talked with Mike Etherington-Smith in July about how to make it the best, and he asked if he could work with Martin Plewa. It was one opportunity for a lot of people and we took it and put it together in a few weeks with good team spirit. So I’m delighted to see all the teams happy and hear them say they want to come back; that’s the best thank you we could get!”

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Girl Power! British Brilliance from Start to Finish in the CCI5*-L

Laura Collett ©S. Bailly/Centaure Production.

After the dressage test and the cross-country course, the champions of international eventing had a final hurdle to jump at the Domaine de Sers in the show jumping competition. Despite a few twists in the plot among the Top 10 during the event, British rider Laura Collet didn’t put a foot wrong with London 52. Adding another flawless round after her brilliant cross-country ride, the horse-rider pair rode to victory in the only CCI5*-L competition this year. Close behind her, her fellow countrywoman Piggy March also rode a prefect show jumping round to finish second. In spite of a few time faults in the show jumping competition, Tim Price keeps his third place in the final ranking.

French riders Maxime Livio and Alexis Goury, on Vitorio du Montet and Trompe l’oeil d’Emery, respectively, rode two amazing clean rounds, after demonstrating their skills on the cross-country course, without a single penalty. Taking advantage of the twelve penalty points incurred by Rosalind Canter and the 9.2 points added to Mollie Summerland’s score, the two young French riders came in eighth and seventh in the final ranking.

Laura Collett: “It’s the stuff dreams are made of! I still don’t quite believe this is all really happening. This morning, I was saying to myself that if I had had the choice, I wouldn’t have wanted to ride any other horse than London 52 in this kind of competition! He’s a fantastic jumper. It was his first time competing at this level and I really wasn’t expecting this kind of result at the end of the competition.”

Piggy March: “As I said yesterday, my horse was competing in his first five-star competition. I’m just so delighted with his performance this week. I have great hopes for him in the future. I’d also like to thank the organisation team for the exceptional work they did to make this happen. I’m really grateful for the incredible opportunity we’ve had to be able to come and compete here this week, in such exceptional conditions. So, a really big thank you to everyone.”

Tim Price: “Well of course third place doesn’t have quite the same feel as a victory… But I’m really happy to finish the weekend without any penalties. Wesko is old, but he’s a great horse and I’m enjoying riding him for as long as I can at this level. I’ve also made amazing progress since I first competed in this event in Pau!”

Alexis Goury: “I’m really happy with the progress Trompe l’oeil and I have made since we first competed here in 2018. Our score in the dressage test is much better than two years ago. He rode an amazing cross-country course and jumped wonderfully today. But in this 5* star event in Pau, there were two British Olympic teams to compete against. So, the competition was fierce (laughs)! Trompe l’oeil proved once again that he’s a brilliant horse. I’m really delighted.”

Pascal Sayous: “I’m really proud of everyone who made this event possible. Thank you to the spectators who followed the rules, thank you to all the volunteers at Pau Events, and thank you to all my teams at Centaure Production. We’ve been through a lot of times where we thought that none of this would have been possible, but the team kept on working. Congratulations to the riders and drivers – without them this competition would never have happened. I’m feeling proud, very emotional and tired, but I’m already thinking ahead to 2021 to start over again!”

Find the results here.
You can follow the live stream here.

The starting lists, results, maps, practical information, and ticket office are available on the mobile App “Les 5 Étoiles de Pau” or on the website for the event:  www.event-pau.fr.

Juliette Feytout – E-mail: juliette@blizko-communication.com

After Cross-Country, British Women Take the Lead and France Moves Back Up

Laura Collett ©S. Bailly/Centaure Production.

Once again this year, the cross-country event at the 5 Étoiles de Pau staged a magnificent show for its spectators. Thirty-one combinations and forty-five efforts to be negotiated along the 6.3-km course, and all in just 11.08 minutes. That was the challenge that French course designer Pierre Michelet set the forty-five competitors on the start list for the only 5*-L cross-country event this year.

Ten horse-rider pairs completed a flawless round, riding home without a single obstacle penalty and within the time limit imposed. Among them was British rider Laura Collett with London 52, who stays in pole position. Her fellow countrywoman Piggy March, riding Brookfield Inocent, took advantage of the few difficulties encountered by Christopher Burton to take second place on the provisional podium. New Zealand rider Tim Price also climbed up one place after the cross-country event, despite being just a second over the time limit, riding home in third place on Wesko. The French riders ended the day with three flawless rides. Jean-Lou Bigot climbs up to eighth place with Utrillo du Halage. Alexis Goury and Trompe l’Oeil d’Emery got into the Top 10, while Maxime Livio and Vitorio du Montet, thirty-first after the dressage test, now lie in twelfth place before the final show-jumping test. Another wonderful day for equestrian sport, and some splendid French performances as two of these three horses were competing for the first time at five-star level.

Laura Collett: “It really picks you up to hear the encouragements from spectators along the course! The public here in Pau is really amazing. So, a big thank you to them all and to the organisation team to have made it possible to run the cross-country course in these conditions. After his first round with Mr Bass, I knew I had to be very careful with London 52 on the combinations. He’s a very careful horse and always jumps a bit bigger too. So, I stayed very concentrated and he was just perfect. It’s the first time he’s ridden an eleven-minute cross-country course, so I’ll see how things go tomorrow in the show-jumping event, but whatever happens, I’m just really proud of him this evening!”

Piggy March: “We’re really lucky to be here in Pau. For me it was a golden opportunity to prepare Brookfield Inocent for the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year. I’ve never been to Pau before, but I more or less expected the kind of course that we rode today: a course that encouraged forward, brave, attacking riding but with the odd sneaky thing put in. I’m really proud of my horse who was competing in his first 5* cross-country event today. I think he’s one of the best horses I’ve ever had.”

Tim Price: “2020 has been a strange year for everyone. If there was only to be one 5* competition this year, the Pau five star is a pretty good representation. So, a big thank you to the organisation team and course designer Pierre Michelet for the quality of the course today. It was a course that encouraged bravery but also demanded us as riders to be on our toes, take the brilliance of some of the big jumps and do something with it. For me, that’s exactly how a cross-country course should be at this level.”

Jean-Lou Bigot: “When I walked the course, I loved it already even before riding it! Pierre Michelet gave use a wonderfully balanced and technical course to work with. Congratulations and a big thank you to him! All the same, I can’t say that it was an easy ride for me. Since the European Championships, Utrillo du Halage has made a lot of progress and I’m really pleased with his performance in both the dressage test and the cross-country event today, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do to compete at the same level as Tim Price (laughs)!”

Find the results here.
You can follow the live stream here.

The starting lists, results, maps, practical information, and ticket office are available on the mobile App “Les 5 Étoiles de Pau” or on the website for the event:  www.event-pau.fr.

Juliette Feytout – E-mail: juliette@blizko-communication.com