Tragedy struck at Kreuth CCI*** in Germany at the weekend as Bettina Hoy’s Woodsides Ashby and Erica Watson’s Serving Time both lost their lives during the cross-country.

Hoy was leading the field on Woodsides Ashby with a seemingly unbeatable dressage score of 23.1pen. But as the pair approached the second water, Woodsides Ashby suddenly dropped dead from a suspected ruptured aorta. Hoy is emotionally rather than physically wounded by the incident, which saw her husband Andrew move into pole position on Yeoman’s Point.

Within minutes of the competition resuming, the second disaster occurred. Erica Watson’s ride, Serving Time irreparably damaged his pastern after slipping when landing over one of the course’s more straightforward obstacles.

Although the competition was overshadowed by the tragic events, British riders had a successful time with Mary King the highest placed British rider in second place behind Andrew Hoy.

Mary King produced stunning performances on both Birthday Night and Apache Sauce, finishing inside the optimum time and in second and seventh place respectively. King is riding Birthday Night en lieu of William Fox-Pitt, who is still side-lined following a fall from a novice horse at Gatcombe. Jade Lazenby from Devon piloted Master Blaster II to 15th place and European Champion Zara Phillips finished 12th on Ardfield Magic Star.

Germany’s Dirk Shrade, a pupil of the Hoys, had a particularly impressive outing on home ground, taking third, fourth and 10th places. Fellow comrade Inken Johannsen finished in fifth place, despite his horse Latima 7 losing both front shoes on the cross-country.

  • Read the full report in this Thursday’s Horse & Hound (6 October, ’05)