Britain finished a disappointing eighth in the Meydan FEI Nations Cup in Aachen, Germany yesterday. This drops Britain to fourth place on the leaderboard with two rounds of the series left to go.

In a similar situation to the bout of azoturia suffered by Rebecca Stones’ Peppermill at the 2008 Olympics, the stallion tied up after jumping in the first round for John Whitaker, and failed to make an appearance in round two.

“He was a bit tied up, it wasn’t as bad as in Hong Kong, but similar,” said John, “but he is much better this morning, pretty much perfect in fact.”

In their regular anchor position and displaying their customary exuberant, big-jumping style, the pair had produced a vital jumping clear, albeit marked with one time fault, to lift Britain out of the danger cut-off zone to make the second round.

However, without their contribution in round two and down to three riders, Britain dropped to eighth.

“He [Peppermill] doesn’t get wound up for the big occasion, but I think he sometimes puts pressure on himself with the way he jumps [extravagantly],” said John, who is unsure whether he will jump the stallion again this weekend.

“I was relying on our performance in the Nations Cup to qualify for the grand prix, and to qualify you had to jump in both rounds. I’ll know more later today, but I don’t think I will be in [the grand prix].”

Ireland’s quartet scored a superb victory in the Nations Cup with two double clears from Dermott Lenoon and Cian O’Connor.

The next round of the competition will be at the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead on Friday 30 July.

For full report and comment, don’t miss next week’s H&H, on sale 22 July

Nations Cup results

1. IRELAND, 4 (Tinka’s Serenade (B Twomey) 4/0; Hallmark Elite (D Lennon) 0/0; K Club Lady (C O’Connor) 0/0; Lantinus (D Lynch) 5/DNS)
2. GERMANY, 9 (Cash (M Kutscher) 0/4; Cellagon Lambrasco (J-F Meyer) 4/1; Gotha (L Beerbaum) 18/0; Plot Blue (M Ehning) 0/DNS)
3. USA, 12 (Quick Study (L Hough) 0/4; Skara Glen’s Davos (C King) 0/4; Tristan (N Simpson) 4/0; Cedric (L Kraut) 4/4)
=4. SWITZERLAND AND FRANCE, 16
6. THE NETHERLANDS, 24
7. SWEDEN, 31
8. GREAT BRITAIN, 35 (Murka’s Pom D’Ami (P Charles) 4/5; Chamberlain Z (D McPherson) 4/17; Intertoy Z (S Brash) 25/4; Peppermill (J Whitaker) 1/DNS
9. POLAND, 17 (first round)
10. SPAIN, 18 (first round)

Points leaderboard after 6 rounds

1. France – 43.5
2. USA – 31.5
3. Ireland – 28.5
4. Great Britain – 28.5
5. Germany – 28.5
6. Spain – 21.5
7. Netherlands – 17.0
8. Switzerland – 15.0
9. Sweden – 14.0
10. Poland – 0