There’s no questioning the fact that Britain has long had a phenomenal eventing record. In a whirlwind of a September weekend in Switzerland at The FEI European Eventing Championships 2021, Team GB proved they were just too hot to handle. We were untouchable from the outset; phase after phase we led the way, the glorious gold never leaving our grasp. Not only did we smash the team title, but took every individual medal on offer along the way too - it was absolutely marvellous.
So let’s rewind a little to the start of the competition and the first horse inspection. In any competition of this format, the ‘trot up’ is a compulsory examination to assess whether the horse in question is sound to compete. The first of these two assessments takes place before the dressage competition, and the second on the final day prior to the show jumping phase. I will also add that, for the riders, the trot up is essentially the equestrian equivalent of London Fashion Week. Fact.
The riders present their horses to an inspection panel; after a quick adrenaline-fuelled, nerve-wracking jig-jog up and down the strip, they await the much-anticipated nod of approval from the judges to bag the golden ticket to continue to the competition. Historically, Fairfax & Favor have kitted out riders for such occasions to make sure they look the part; the FEI Euros was, of course, no exception to this.
Kitty King and Vendredi Biats
Ros Canter and Allstar B
Piggy March and Brookfield Innocent
Nicola Wilson and JL Dublin
Sarah Bullimore and Corouet Breeze
The competition was like no other. With our dream team going for gold from the outset, we held the first and second overnight lead and were off to a flyer. After a fierce and fighting performance, the final day of Avenches was incredible, finally erupting with emotion, tension and team glory as GB cruised along to secure the team win on a remarkable score of 71.3. Hot on our heels right up to the last moment was Germany who claimed second spot with 86.4 penalties, then a curveball result from Sweden who remarkably climbed 3 places from 6th to bronze medal position on a score of 113.9 penalties.
And so, the final icing on this delicious golden cake? This outstanding result officially marks the seventh time that the Brits have nabbed all four medals on offer in the 35 FEI European Eventing Championship events. Nicola Wilson secured her very first individual gold with a gobsmacking score of 20.9, Piggy March took second place winning individual silver with 23.3, and Sarah Bullimore bagged the bronze with 23.6. What... a... finish!
Team GB with their Gold (and a very proud Mr. Waygood!)
Congratulations Team GB, forever making our nation proud.
Thank you to Footluce Eventing for this article!
A huge thank you to Insights Magazine for the use of your fabulous images.