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eventingThe 2014 eventing season is now over, with riders and horses taking a well-earned break — and getting some training in ahead of 2015’s competitions.

2014’s elite events kicked off with a win for Sam Griffiths (pictured right) riding Paulank Brockagh at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in the spring, while William Fox-Pitt piloted Bay My Hero into top spot in Rolex Kentucky.

The four-star action continued in Luhmuhlen, Germany, but Tim Price’s first win at the level was overshadowed by the death of Benjamin Winter on the cross-country. In a terrible weekend for the sport, Jordan McDonald also lost his life while competing at Nunney International Horse Trials in Somerset.

The delays associated with the FEI tribunal following Clifton Promise and Clifton Pinot’s positive tests for a prohibited substance at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2013 were a talking point throughout the first half of the year. After being allowed to return to competition in June, Jock Paget and Kevin McNab were finally cleared of any wrong-doing in early August, some 11 months after the incident took place.

Later in the summer all eyes turned to Normandy for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games The eventing podium at WEGwhere the Brits produced an outstanding demonstration of cross-country riding in extremely challenging conditions. The team would have been on a high following their brilliant performance, but for the devastating loss of Harry Meade’s Wild Lone, who collapsed and died shortly after completing the course. The ultimate team player, Harry remained on site to support the squad and collected a silver medal in memory of his brilliant cross-country partner.

Zara Phillips’ selection for the British eventing team at WEG so soon after giving birth to her first child split opinions. Following a disappointing dressage performance, she proved the critics wrong with a great cross-country round as the British team’s pathfinder, followed by a clear showjumping to finish in 11th place. Meanwhile, the less said about the eventing experience for spectators the better…

A quick turnaround for the eventing world saw riders, trainers and supporters alike headed back to the UK for the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, where Andrew Nicholson entered the record books with three consecutive wins on the brilliant homebred Avebury.

Pau saw Ingrid Klimke collect her first four-star win with Horseware Hale Bob, ahead of her compatriot Andreas Dibowski. Nicola Wilson fared best of the British riders finishing eighth on One Two Many.

The final four-star of the year, at Adelaide, went to a new face — 22-year-old Jessica Manson riding Legal Star, who was originally destined to be an endurance horse. She pipped the experienced Megan Jones on Kirby Park Allofasudden to first place.

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Andrew Nicholson at home

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