Pippa Funnell heads a top-class cast of international riders, who will be competing at the Chatsworth SsangYong International Horse Trials in Derbyshire this weekend (14 – 15 May).
Pippa arrives at Chatsworth following an impressive third win at Badminton last weekend with Primmore’s Pride, with whom she won the World Cup qualifier at Chatsworth last year. Currently on flying form, she is set to defend her title with her experienced partner Cornerman this time around.
Her friend and rival William Fox-Pitt will be aiming to improve on his Badminton second place at Chatsworth. He is riding Moon Man, who has a chequered history across country at the highest level, but appears rejuvenated after a winter’s hunting. This partnership has already picked up some 2005 World Cup points with third place in the qualifier at Burnham Market.
Other riders to look out for include Bumble Thomas, who is back in action with The Psephologist. This partnership was second at Burghley last year, and Bumble will be nursing some bruises this weekend as she tries to produce a better performance than at Badminton, when she took a nasty looking fall when exiting the lake.
Crowds can also look forward to seeing Japanese star of Badminton Yoshiaki Oiwa in action once again, this time on board Fifth Avenue Fame. Japan is one of the seven nations represented in the World Cup qualifier, which is one of only two qualifiers being held in Britain.
Husband and wife team Clayton and Lucinda Fredericks plus the former Olympic champion Matt Ryan will fly the Australian flag, while Anna Hilton of Sweden has two rides.
A strong squad of German riders are contesting the World Cup qualifier, which is a selection trial for Germany’s team at the forthcoming European Eventing Championships. They are headed by Bettina Hoy on Ringwood Cockatoo, who is well placed in the World Cup series having already won and finished second at Fontainebleau and Burnham Market respectively, and Bettinas Olympic team mate Ingrid Klimke on Sleep Late.
Meanwhile, Chatsworths most local rider is Francesca Ludlam from Ashbourne. The 18-year-old, a member of the Lottery-funded Start squad for British team riders of the future, has her first crack at the Chatsworth World Cup qualifier riding Secret Avalanche.
As well as novice and advanced eventing, Chatsworth also host an exciting programme of entertainment in the main arena, including a pony-driving display, jumping cows, gundog demonstration, tug owar, Pony Club mounted games, a hound parade and terrier-racing.
Admission costs £8 on Saturday and £10 on Sunday, plus £1.50 for car-parking. Accompanied children 14 and under go free. Horse trials visitors are entitled to reduced price admission to Chatsworth House, farmyard and gardens over the weekend. For further information, visit: www.chatsworth.org or (tel: 01278 788492).