Kiwi eventers vying to Tokyo Olympic Games berths are having a last push at impressing selectors at the Bicton International Horse Trials, which got underway with the first horse inspection overnight.
It’s a truly international field, with combinations from Great Britain, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States all chasing glory in the CCI4*-L and CCI4*-S classes. Entries are big, with more than 100 in each, and both sections have been split into two divisions.
There is a clutch of Olympic hopefuls in the CCI4*-S including Samantha Lissington on both Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ, who last year placed second in a CCI4*-L in Portugal and Ricker Ridge Rui, and Amanda Pottinger with Just Kidding who have not long been in the UK. Other kiwi riders not chasing Olympic selection in the CCI4*-S include Jesse Campbell aboard Gambesie who is stepping up to his first 4* start, Bruce Haskell aboard Amiro Sky, Caroline Powell and Greenacres Special Cavalier, Andrew Nicholson with Swallow Springs who is a previous CCI4*-S winner.
But they are up against some impressive combinations in the class, including a number of British Olympic longlisted riders. Ros Canter is entered on her 2018 world champ Allstar B, Piggy March on Brookfield Inocent, Tom McEwen with his 2019 Pau winner Toledo de Kerser and Laura Collet with her in-form London 52.
Lining up in the CCI4*-L for New Zealand, though not in line for Olympic contention, are Andrew Nicholson aboard Monbeg Exclusive who won the CCI3*-L at Bicton in 2020, Tayla Mason and Centennial, Dan Jocelyn with both Duke of Champions and Lissyegan Rory, and Hollie Swain with Solo. The first horse inspection saw two eliminations and five withdrawn.
It is a bit of a star-studded field, which includes Piggy March (GBR) and her 2019 Badminton winner Vanir Kamira, Ben Hobday’s (GBR) national champ Shadow Man II and Tom McEwen’s British intermediate champion Dreamaway II.
Dressage for both divisions will run over the next two days with Saturday featuring the CCI4*-S showjumping and CCI4*-L cross country, and Sunday the CCI4*-L showjumping and CCI4*-S cross country.
The horse details:
Monbeg Exclusive – owned by Cartoni Simoncini Beatrice
Centennial – owned by Sue Rutter, Kyle Mason and Sonya and Tayla Mason
Duke of Champions – owned by Philip Hunt, Jo Preston-Hunt and Joyce Snook
Lissyegan Rory – owned by Debbie Cunningham and Dan and Emma Jocelyn
Solo – owned by John Bodenham
Ricker Ridge Rui – owned by Christine Quigley and Samantha Lissington
Amiro Sky – owned by Judy, Tom and Bruce Haskell
Greenacres Special Cavalier – owned by Chris Mann
Swallow Springs – owned by Paul and Diana Ridgeon
Gambesie – owned by Sarah Moffat
Just Kidding – owned by the Pottinger family
Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ – owned by Pip McCarroll and Samantha Lissington
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESBZ