Zara Phillips’ top horse High Kingdom is on track to compete at Badminton this year, after missing nearly the whole 2015 season due to injury.
“Zara says High Kingdom is in good form, working well and she is very pleased with him,” said British eventing high performance manager Yogi Breisner.
“As far as I know at this stage she is aiming to go to Badminton, but of course plans can change.”
High Kingdom, who belongs to Grand National-winning owner Trevor Hemmings, was a team silver medallist for Britain at the 2012 London Olympics and the 2014 World Equestrian Games.
The 15-year-old by Master Imp is entered to start his 2016 season in the open intermediate at Tweseldown (1) on Thursday, 10 March, and then to do the advanced intermediate at Gatcombe (1) on Friday, 25 March.
Zara is now competing under her married name, Tindall, having previously stuck with Phillips since her marriage to rugby star Mike Tindall in July 2011.
Because High Kingdom has not completed a top-level event since 2014, he still needs to gain his individual qualification in order to be considered for Britain’s team for the Rio Olympics this summer.
In order to do this, he and Zara must gain an FEI qualifying result at either a CCI4* or both a CIC3* and a CCI3* before 19 June this year.
A qualifying result means not more than 75 penalties in the dressage, a jumping clear cross-country no more than 90 seconds over the optimum time (or 120 seconds at four-star) and no more than 16 jumping penalties in the showjumping.
Injured at Kentucky
High Kingdom was injured before the start of competition at Rolex Kentucky last year.
While he was being tacked up he kicked out, splitting the skin on his off hind on the outside of his pastern. The cut was attended to and the horse was brought to the warm-up, but unfortunately it became clear he was not 100% and would not be able to compete. It was decided, in the horse’s best interests, to withdraw him.
Zara’s father Mark Phillips then revealed in his H&H magazine column the following week (30 April) that the horse had had to go to an equine hospital to have the joint flushed under general anaesthetic.
High Kingdom travelled home with the rest of the Britain-based horses after the event and Zara hoped he might come back to competition in time to contest the European Championships at Blair, but he was not back to full fitness in time.