Brits ruled out of opening leg of pilot Nations Cup dressage series

Britain was unable to contest the opening leg of the FEI Nations Cup pilot season at Vidauban, France last Saturday (18 May) — after one team member’s horse was held at the first horse inspection.

The three-rider team of Sarah Millis (HP Frontier), Kay Maxted (Privaldi) and Daniel Watson (Fideramber) was ruled out of contention after HP Frontier was unsound and was asked to represent the following day. Connections felt the gelding was not 100% sound, so declined to re-present him.

As Britain had only sent three combinations (four are permitted, with one becoming the drop score), the team could not contest the Nations Cup. It was particularly galling for Kay Maxted who, at the age of 63, was fulfilling a lifelong ambition of a team place with her 16-year-old Gribaldi-sired gelding.

The Netherlands were the eventual winners with Sweden second and France third.

Winning team member, Laurens van Lieren said afterwards: “There was a combination of strong riders as well as young riders getting experience here, so that made for a great competition”.

The FEI is running the pilot Nations Cup dressage series to assess the attractiveness of the event to spectators, organisers, the media and riders.

Further legs will be held at Rotterdam CDIO5* and Aachen CDIO5* (27 June), culminating at Hickstead CDIO3* (4 August).

Each fixture must host either a grand prix or a grand prix freestyle competition in which the teams can earn points towards the FEI Nations Cup dressage standings.

Vidauban, Rotterdam and Aachen all plumped to stage a grand prix competition, but Hickstead has chosen to stage a freestyle to music competition to bring the series to a close.

For more on this story, see Brits Abroad in the 30 May issue of H&H.