Eventers make final WEG preparations

  • British eventing squad members Zara Phillips and William Fox-Pitt were on show at the Mitsubishi Motors Hartpury Horse Trials in Gloucestershire this weekend, giving their team horses a last outing before the World Equestrian Games. Meanwhile Mary King and Oliver Townend, also on Britain’s WEG eventing squad, took the opportunity to get their eye in on their other horses.

    Zara Phillips and Toytown produced an impressive 43.4 pen dressage score and racked up just 4 pen in the show jumping and William Fox-Pitt and Tamarillo scored 42.4 pen in the dressage and knocked one rail in the show jumping, as well as picking up four time faults. A fortnight ago at Gatcombe Tamarillo gave Fox-Pitt a rough ride in the show jumping, putting in a stop. “He has done a bit of spooking in his time,” Fox-Pitt admitted afterwards, “So we’re getting all our glitches out the way.”

    Neither Toytown nor Tamarillo ran cross-country in an attempt to save their legs for Aachen.

    Zara Phillips was also saving her legs, withdrawing Red Baron after the dressage. But William Fox-Pitt proved he is on top form by winning the three star on Moon Man and finishing 23rd on eight-year-old Macchiato. Mary King was placed third on Cashel Bay.

    With a matter of days before the World Equestrian Games opening ceremony, squad member Daisy Dick purports to be making use of a rowing machine, “I’m concentrating on health and fitness,” she told HHO recently.

    At Gatcombe a fortnight ago European gold medallist Zara Phillips seemed relaxed about the forthcoming competition but admits it will be a different challenge to last year’s European Championships at Blenheim. “It is going to be a completely different competition,” she told HHO, “I will have to go into it with a different mentality.”

    The WEG eventing horses are leaving for Aachen in three horse lorries on Sunday 20 August.

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