The 2003 eventing season was packed with amazing achievements by British riders, as well as some incidents that the sport would probably prefer to forget. Alongside fantastic competition at the highest level, concerns about the sport’s future were high in the consciousness of everyone involved, but whatever happens in the future, 2003 certainly was a year to remember.
Highs of the 2003 season
- Pippa Funnell wins the Rolex Grand Slam and pockets $250,000 following her victories at Kentucky, Badminton and Burghley
- Leslie Law, Jeanette Brakewell, Pippa Funnell and William Fox-Pitt bring home Britains fifth successive European gold, and Pippa secures individual bronze at Punchestown
- William Fox-Pitt cleans up at the Doubleprint Festival of Eventing at Gatcombe, scoring a one-two in the British Open Championship and seven placings from eight rides during the weekend
- Zara Phillips makes an impressive debut at the highest level by coming second at Burghley CCI****.
- Blenheim is awarded the 2005 European Championships, bringing the competition back for British soil for the first time since 1997
Lows of the 2003 season
- Controversy about the future of eventing, the use of different eventing formats and worries about the end of the traditional three-day event
- Eventing hits the headlines for the wrong reasons as Master Monarch is snatched from Andrew Hoys yard in the ugly culmination of a personal dispute
- Supreme Rock is sidelined for the latter half of the season, missing his chance at Burghley and the opportunity to become, with Pippa Funnell, the only combination to win three successive European titles
- Samantha Hudson is killed at Spring Hill Horse Trials while competing her horse Nightlight VI, while David Herron, Daniel Sibley and Jane OFlynn all suffer serious eventing accidents
- A number of high-profile event horse pass away from various causes including Priceless, Regal Scot, Ryan V, The Native, Boundalong, Headley Kingdom and Horseware Fabio