Dramatic finish at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials

By Wendy Nix

It was drama all the way to the finish line at this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (September 5 – 8 ) as Pippa Funnell regained the trophy she last won in 2003 by the tightest of margins, 0.1 penalties.

Hot on her heels was Piggy French on her 2019 Badminton winner, Vanir Kamira, who finished 0.4 of a penalty ahead of third-placed Oliver Townend riding his 2017 Burghley winner, Ballaghmor Class.

Burghley Winner Pippa Funnell
Photo: Kingswood Associates

Show jumping in reverse order, with literally nothing in hand, Oliver toppled the second fence to add four penalties to his score. Piggy also had a fence down which was just as well for Pippa as MGH Grafton Street – at his first 5* event – took out fence 8, an upright of rails, by the roots. He was clearly unsettled after that, and it took all of Pippa’s horsemanship to bring him home clear over the rest of the course to a tumultuous cheer from the crowds.

Piggy French and Vanir Kamkira in action
Photo: Kingswood Associates

Thursday and Friday saw the dressage taking place with Pippa, Piggy and Oliver all coming near the end although Pippa also rode Billy Walk On on Thursday.

Overnight on Friday, Pippa was in the lead on MGH Grafton Street with 22.8, Oliver lay second with a score of 25.3 with Piggy close at hand in equal fifth (26.9). Gemma Tattersall’s test on Arctic Soul gave her 32.7 while her second ride, Santiago Bay, fared better for 29.9.

Gemma Tattersall and Santiago Bay clearing an obstacle well
Photo: Kingswood Associates

Also from West Sussex were Nana Dalton on Absolut Opposition (35.4), Francis Whittington on Evento (35.3), Australian Isabel English, based at Billingshurst, with Feldale Mouse (34.0) and American Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp, based in North Chailey, riding Deniro Z. Elisabeth lay in equal seventh place after dressage on 28.4.

Oliver Townend and Ballaghmore Class at one of the obstacles Photo: Kingswood Associates

With 22 first timers taking part at Burghley, including Isobel and Elisabeth, it was clear that the cross-country course would take some riding. As ever, course designer Capt. Mark Phillips had offered several options for the not so brave but not even he anticipated the problems caused, particularly at the Rolex Triple Brush (Fence 6) and Joules at the Maltings (Fence 13).

This latter, with three elements for the short route or five for the longer, accounted for no less than 10 retirements or eliminations and three lots of added penalties. The crash team were kept busy replacing rails that had dropped thanks to frangible pins – causing Mark Phillips to comment later that the course had probably set a world record for frangible pins in action.

The scene was set early in the day at the Maltings when the usually very reliable Arctic Soul tipped Gemma out the plate. Isobel knocked a frangible pin to add 11 penalties to her score before also being tipped out the saddle for elimination. Nana retired here after a run-out while Francis, having got through the Maltings unscathed, was eliminated at Fence 20, Clarence Court at the Dairy Mound.

Those who rode forward on committed strides made it all look easy, which it was not, and determination was etched across the faces of Elisabeth who jumped within her limits to go clear, adding 34.4 time penalties to her dressage,

Gemma, who was very pleased to put the Maltings behind her on Santiago Bay, and Pippa who had faith in her ‘lucky number 77’ which she was wearing. Unfortunately, at some stage on the course she lost her much-loved 30-year-old blue hat silk.

“I hate the nerves on Friday night and Saturday morning,” she said afterwards. “I had to stay focused, be brave and committed on ‘Squirrel’ who’s not very experienced. It was a fair course and rode every bit as big as it walked.”

Piggy agreed, “The course felt enormous when walked, the oxers rode as big as they looked and the gates [Fence 16, Land Rover at the Lake, a double on a bending line of two strides or straight on one] were hideous. But I have faith in [Mark Phillips]. The course was as hard as its ever felt and I’ve never made the time before, my horse is a real trier.” Piggy was the sole clear across country inside the time; Pippa added four time penalties while Oliver added just two.

At the end of Saturday, Pippa was in the lead on 26.8, Piggy lay second on 26.9 with Oliver in third on 27.3. Gemma was in sixth on 41.1 and Elisabeth was in fifteenth with 62.8.

The Trot Up on Sunday morning saw four horses sent to the holding box for further inspection, including Santiago Bay. Thankfully, he and two of the others passed on representation to go forward to the show jumping phase. Clear rounds were quite hard to come by, Elisabeth dropping one pole to retain her place while Gemma also had one down which left her in seventh.

And so the weekend ended with thrills to the last second and it was perhaps appropriate that the first three, along with West Sussex’s Tina Cook, had returned from Germany just the week before as European Team Silver Medallists.

Hickstead unveils top class eventing facilities


Hickstead may be known as the home of British showjumping, but now it is set to diversify into the sport of eventing with the launch of extensive new all-weather cross-country facilities.

Top event riders Gemma Tattersall, Francis Whittington and Emily King were on hand to mark the launch of the facilities, yesterday, September 1 for the Arena Eventing classes at the Science Supplements All England Jumping Championships.

From left: Emily King, Hickstead Director Lizzie Bunn, Francis Whittington and Gemma Tattersall Photo (c) Spidge Photography

The £500,000 project comprises two vast arenas, connected with an all-weather track. Equine America Ring Three has been transformed from a grass ring to a state-of-the-art Andrews Bowen surfaced arena, while the adjoining Airowear Ring Four has been extended and now features a vast water complex.

The facilities boast around 60 cross-country type obstacles, ranging from 80cm in height to 1.10m, making it ideal for grassroots riders, young and novice horses, and those competing up to British Eventing Novice level.

“This is just the start – we’ll be creating a large stock of additional fences that can be rotated in and out of the arena, allowing us to refresh the design and build new combinations according to the riders’ demands, as well as increasing the height of some fences when event riders begin preparations for their spring events,” explained showground manager William Bunn.

The course will include a wide range of single fences and combinations, with plenty of skinnies, corners and arrowheads. The water complex is expected to be a huge draw, with several jumping options into the water and within the lake.

“We’re delighted to be opening this new winter training facility, which will be open each year from October to May,” added William.

“We believe it’s going to be the biggest and best facility of its kind in the South East, and it is going to be of huge benefit for local riders. Not only will it draw event riders, it will also be a boost for riders from all disciplines and levels, who want to vary their horses’ routines, try something new or just come and have some fun.”

A number of leading eventing experts have assisted with the creation of these exciting new facilities, including Badminton course designer Eric Winter, who oversaw the plans for the initial project, and Olympic course designer David Evans, who was consulted on the design of the course.

Pre-booking for these new facilities is essential via the online booking system which is now live. One-hour sessions will cost £36 per horse, and if you book three sessions you get the fourth one free. The facilities are also available for hire for trainers, Riding Clubs and Branches of the Pony Club who may wish to hold clinics and competitions.

Olympic and World Equestrian Games gold medal-winning event rider Gemma Tattersall, who is based near the showground, said: “I am extremely excited about the new cross-country schooling facility at Hickstead. It’s so close to us, so to have the option of coming here in the winter to train on an all-weather surface is beyond brilliant – what a great opportunity for all of us that live in the South.”

For more information, visit www.hicksteadschooling.co.uk or email schooling@hickstead.co.uk


Eventing team for fourth leg of FEI Nations Cup

AFTER two strong performances in the first and third legs, Great Britain will head to Camphire in Ireland from July 27-30 for the next points winning opportunity of the 2019 FEI Nations Cup Series.

The team in alphabetical order is:

David Doel on Gillian Jonas’ 14 year old bay gelding Shannondale Quest

Flora Harris on Caroline Harris’ 15 year old grey mare Amazing VIII

Tom McEwen on Vicky Bates and David Myers’ nine year old chestnut mare CHF Cooliser

Rosa Onslow on Cindy Onslow’s 12 year old bay gelding RLE Limbo Kaiser

With three legs complete in the 2019 series, Sweden lead the way with a total of 215 points, closely followed by Italy on 210.  Team GBR sit in 6th position having contested in two legs of the series.

Event rider David Doel
Photo: British Eventing

The six best results of the seven legs count towards the overall total and the series will next head to France in August:

  • 23-26 May: Houghton International, Great Britain (GB 3rd)
  • 5-8 June: Pratoni Del Vivaro, Italy
  • 27-30 June: Strzegom, Poland, (GB 2nd)
  • 24-29 July: Camphire Cappoquin, Ireland
  • 7-13 August: Le Pin au Haras, France
  • 19-22 September: Waregem, Belgium
  • 10-13 October: Boekelo, Netherlands


Could you represent GB on an Eventing Nations Cup squad?

British Eventing invites riders who meet the criteria below to apply for the British FEI Nations Cups squad in 2019.

The team of four will be chosen from those who have expressed an interest; it is hoped that at least one senior team member will be on the squad and at least two less experienced riders, as it is considered necessary for more riders to have international team experience. Some funding will be provided, depending on the event.

If you meet the following criteria please apply via the details below:

  • Horse/rider combinations from past and present form in CCI4*-S, CCI4*-L and CCI5*-L who have had recent good form.
  • Hold a current and valid British Passport.
  • Are qualified for the forthcoming Nations Cups, horses can be owned by any nationality as they take on the nationality of the rider for a Nations Cup.
  • Neither horses nor athletes are for any reason not allowed to take part in the forthcoming Nations Cups under BE, BEF, or FEI rules.
  • Horse/Rider must be eligible according to the minimum eligibility criteria as defined in the FEI Regulations (Annex 2 BE Members’ Handbook).

If you would like to be considered please fill out the overseas application form HERE and send back via email to Gemma Harriss on gemma.harriss@britisheventing.com. Please also send any questions to Gemma.

Event rider Paul Tapner aims for Hickstead treble

Australian event rider Paul Tapner returns to Hickstead next week with the aim of becoming the first person to win the new format MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge three times in a row.

Paul was victorious in both 2017 and 2018 with the grey Bonza Ring of Rouges, and he hopes he can make it third time lucky with another victory in the Longines International Arena on Thursday July 25.

Paul Tapner, winner of the 2017 and 2018 MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge
Photo: Nigel Goddard

But there will be plenty of rivals hoping to bring Paul’s winning streak to an end, including talented Gemma Tattersall, based locally in West Sussex. Gemma was part of Britain’s gold medal-winning team at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games.

She rides Chico Bella P, a mare who has been consistently placed on the Event Rider Masters series.

Gemma competing with Chico Bella   Photo:British Eventing

Other big names taking part in the MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge include New Zealand’s Lucy Jackson, Ireland’s Joseph Murphy and Brits Alex Bragg, Jeanette Brakewell, Matthew Wright and Nick Gauntlett.

Last year’s runner up Georgie Strang returns for another crack at the title, having finished second to Paul 12 months ago with Cooley Earl.

“The Thursday of the Longines Royal International Horse Show is always an exciting day as we welcome the event riders to Hickstead,” says Lizzie Bunn, Director of the All England Jumping Course.

“We can’t wait to see if Paul Tapner can set a new record, having become the first back-to-back winner of this class already. He was a man on a mission last year, and we’re expecting him to be even quicker this year!”

Tickets for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the Longines Royal International Horse Show (23-28 July) are on sale now from www.hickstead.co.uk

The MS Amlin Eventers Challenge course has 18 fences, including a number of Hickstead’s famous obstacles such as the Devil’s Dyke, the Road Crossing, the less steep side of the Al Shira’aa Bank and the MS Amlin Irish Bank. Horses also have to jump through the Al Shira’aa Mirage – the lake in the centre of the Longines International Arena – and the course finishes with the Privet Oxer.

Hickstead’s original Eventing Grand Prix was the first of its kind – it was the brainchild of Douglas Bunn, showjumper Paul Schockemöhle and event rider Robert Lemieux. Since then it has inspired countless other similar classes around the world.

The format originally included a dressage test, but this was dropped after a couple of years to make it more of a level playing field. Big names to win the class included Michael Whitaker, Trevor Breen, Andrew Nicholson, Pippa Funnell and Lucinda Fredericks.

A change in TV scheduling meant the class ended in 2014, but it was brought back by popular demand as the MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge in 2015. The new format is open to event riders only, and is held within the Longines International Arena, with the course staying the same year on year.

Gemma wins Bolesworth International Grand Prix

SUSSEX event rider Gemma Tattersall continues to achieve outstanding results in eventing. She has just won the Cazenove Capital Eventing Grand Prix at the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show.

She competed with Santiago Bay, reaping £2,000 prize  money with an eight second margin over the showjumping and cross-country obstacles in show’s International Arena.

This top performance has earned her a place in the final at the Theraplate UK Liverpool International Horse Show later this year. She put in a memorable round, in which she tackled the final jump, a joker fence flawlessly and in impressive style.

This difficult fence had subtracted five seconds from many other competitors’ times when they failed to clear it.

Gemma Tattersall

Jay Halim and Abrisco finished second, with long-time leader Bill Levett taking third on Athleet V. The remaining two Liverpool places were filled by Emma Hyslop-Webb and Hannah Bate.

“It was a fantastic class,” said Gemma, who helped Britain to eventing team gold at the World Equestrian Games last September.

“It is my first time here at Bolesworth – I aim to be back for the young horse championship in August – and Santiago Bay is a very special horse. We have a great partnership. She always says yes to every question, and I had a fantastic time in there. She gave me a great ride.”

Santiago Bay

Gemma told reporters: “It is my first time here at Bolesworth – I aim to be back for the young horse championship in August – and Santiago Bay is a very special horse. We have a great partnership. She always says yes to every question, and I had a fantastic time in there. She gave me a great ride.”




Borde Hill Horse Trials at the weekend

Borde Hill Horse Trials take place from Saturday May 25 to Monday May 27 inclusive. The event is sponsored by JH Builders and Bill Kear Arenas and Gallops and will support Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.

The venue is located near Haywards Heath, West Sussex at RH16  1XP and all tracks make good use of the parkland and woodland settings.

Fences are well presented and dressed, with a mix of permanent fences and sturdy portables.

Howard Newitt pictured competing at a previous Borde Hill Horse Trials Photo: British Eventing

New changes will be introduced in all classes this year, providing fair and inviting challenges at all levels.

All areas of the event are meticulously prepared according to the ground conditions and
the course is preserved for the events only and is not open for schooling.

Officials at the event will be:

Joint Organiser – Ms Lucy Cunliffe
Contact Ms Lucy Cunliffe
Phone: 01732 750568
Mobile: 07881 581124

Joint Organiser – Mr John Hill
Contact Mr John Hill
Mobile: 07831 499593

Joint Organiser – Mr Bill Kear
Contact Mr Bill Kear
Phone: 01293 862666
Mobile: 07786 375800

Entries Secretary – Mrs Ann Allen
Contact Mrs Ann Allen
Mobile: 07802 534837 NO CALLS AFTER 7.00PM

Horse trials Nations Cup Squad announced

The selected British squad for the Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International Horse Trials from May 23-26, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Richard Coney (20) riding his own and Wendy Coney’s 11 year old bay gelding Kananaskis
  • Piggy French (38) on Jennifer Saunders’ 11 year old bay gelding Cooley Monsoon
  • Eliza Stoddart (26) and the Flint Syndicate’s 12 chestnut gelding Dick O Malley
  • Bubby Upton (20) and Amy O’Connor and Rachel Upton’s 16 year old gelding Fernhill Rock Star

The British squad of four, who will compete on home soil for the first leg of the seven leg CCIO4*-S series, sees three riders, and all four horses, receive their first senior team call up for Team GBR. Led by GB team stalwart and recent Badminton CCI5*-L and team World Championship gold medalist, Piggy French is joined by Richard Coney, Eliza Stoddart and Bubby Upton, who will all make their first senior team appearance.

Gold medalist Piggy French will lead the team.
Photo courtesy of

Great Britain will head to the opening of the 2019 FEI Nations Cup series on home soil and as defending champions following their win on a total of 94 points last year. The 2019 series calendar is as follows:

  • 23-26 May: Houghton International, Great Britain
  • 5-8 June: Pratoni Del Vivaro, Italy
  • 27-30 June: Strzegom, Poland
  • 24-29 July: Camphire Cappoquin, Ireland
  • 7-13 August: Le Pin au Haras, France
  • 19-22 September: Waregem, Belgium
  • 10-13 October: Boekelo, Netherlands

Tina Cook opens Petworth Schooling Course

On a rather foggy Saturday February 16, Tina Cook, multi medal winning Olympian rider, came to Petworth Schooling Course, to open the new cross-country training venue for West Sussex.

Set in the beautiful South Downs National Park, this course is an easily accessed, friendly training venue near Petworth, West Sussex. The aim is to provide a place for everyone to feel welcome, from the novice to the more experienced.

Using knowledge from members of the P.S.C. team and technical support from Adrian Ditcham, (designer of the London 2012 Olympic cross-country course), this venue has something for everyone.

The opening day comprised four training sessions of riders being coached over a variety of obstacles spread across the site.

Petworth Schooling Course has fine facilities

Many equestrians in the area, will remember the Petworth Horse Trials, on which this site is partially based.

The focus of this latest venture is on the grass roots level of eventing, with plenty for riders from Pony Club to adults, this was seen in the mixture of riders attending the day. The addition of the 400m uphill grass gallops, makes this a must for anyone training and ensuring their horse is fit.

Tina commented on the great selection of jumps offered on the course. She also remarked that the undulating ground makes this a great site for schooling for novice riders and horses- right through to more established partnerships, including her own horses.

For more details of up and coming clinics at this top class facility, what’s available at P.S.C., as well as how to book in for individual sessions, please visit the website at www.petworthschoolingcourse.co.uk or find it on Facebook.

Help prevent eventing horse injuries

Could you help with the future of injury prevention in event horses?

The Animal Health Trust is working with British Eventing, the British Equestrian Federation and World Horse Welfare to investigate risk factors for injury and illness in horses competing in BE events.

They are seeking riders and owners of horses who have competed in all levels of BE competition to take part in the online survey:

To be eligible to take part in the survey; horses must have competed with British Eventing, at any level and in any number of events. If you would like to participate it is asked that one survey is completed per horse, and thank you for taking the time to complete it. All information provided is strictly confidential and no details will be passed on to any third parties.

Eventer Sam Griffiths competing at Houghton   Photo: British Eventing

Results from previous studies led by the Animal Health Trust, with support from British Dressage, the BEF and the FEI, have been used to advise trainers, riders and owners about how to prevent injury in dressage and show jumping horses.

As well as helping injury prevention in event horses, anyone who completes this questionnaire will be eligible for entry into a prize draw worth over £1000 (entry optional). The prize package includes:

  • A lesson with Richard Waygood MBE, World Class Eventing Performance Manager
  • A lesson with Piggy French, member of the 2018 World Championship gold medal winning team in Tryon
  • A Fairfax Performance Bridle of your choice
  • A Fairfax Performance Breastplate
  • British Eventing rider and horse membership worth over £250
  • Hy Fashion bundle worth £200, includes a jacket, breeches and shirt
  • A framed pastel head study of your horse by acclaimed artist Yvonne Lamden Cooper
  • A pair of Fairfax Calf Stirrup Leathers
  • Back on Track goodies
  • Cool down boots from Premier Equine
  • British Eventing branded saddle cloth from Griffin NuuMed
  • Gift voucher to spend on tickets to the SsangYong Blenheim Horse Trials
  • Bottle of Cool Down from Absorbing

To enter the survey go to:


If you would like further information on the project please contact Carolyne Tranquille at the Animal Health Trust. Email: carolyne.tranquille@aht.org.uk Telephone: 01638 751908

Brendon Riding Centre to host eventing clinics

Brendon Riding Centre at Pyecombe, Sussex, is hosting a series of eventing clinics this month. It begins with a Kristina Cook eventing clinic on Thursday January 24, in the Paris outdoor all weather arena with arena eventing fences.

Clinics are open to competing horses/ponies at 80cms level and above. Groups will be based on ability as stated on booking form and there will be one hours morning group sessions with a maximum  of four in a group.

Kristina Cook competing with Billy The Red
Photo: British Eventing

Groups may be amalgamated within two height levels dependant on attendees.
KristinaCook is a British three-day eventing rider  and the 2009 European Champion. A three-time Olympic medallist, she won individual and team bronze in Beijing 2008 and team silver in 2012 at her second Olympic appearance at London 2012 on Miners Frolic .
At the 2012 Olympics in London, Tina won silver in Team Eventing with partners Nicola Wilson, Zara Phillips, Mary King and William Fox-Pitt.
This Brendon clinic offers an excellent opportunity to train with an Olympian Eventing rider and trainer with an exciting range of eventing fences to help you and your horse compete to your best
Bookings and payment in advance only. You can book using Brendon’s Secure Online Entry System. Payment is secure and it goes directly to Brendon Pyecombe.
You will receive an email confirmation of your booking and payment.
Cost of Clinic: £65 per person per session.

This clinic will be followed a Gemma Tattersall eventing clinic on Tuesday February 5. On Friday February 22 Amber Barson-Greally will hold an Arena Eventing Clinic at Brendon.

Full details of these two clinics are available from Brendon or see: