With the 2021 eventing season well in the rear view, we check out who are the best event horses in Britain right now. They may be out on winter holidays – woolly, shaggy and happily enjoying the grass – but we can’t wait to see these 10 superstars, who topped British Eventing’s points list for 2021, out again next year.
The best event horses in Britain
1. JL Dublin (pictured above)
Owned by James and Jo Lambert and Deirdre Johnston and ridden by Nicola Wilson, the 10-year-old JL Dublin has leapt to prominence this year, following a victory at Bicton Horse Trials CCI4*-L with a win at Hartpury CCI4*-S and then team and individual gold at the European Eventing Championships in Avenches, Switzerland.
2. Ballaghmor Class
Acknowledged as a star ever since he burst onto the five-star scene with a win at Burghley Horse Trials 2017, the grey owned by Karyn Shuter, Val Ryan and Angela Hislop and ridden by Oliver Townend was a key part of Britain’s gold medal-winning effort at the Tokyo Olympics this year, finishing fifth individually.
3. Falco IV
This 12-year-old, owned by Sue Benson and ridden by New Zealand’s Tim Price, made a splash this season when he won Millstreet CCI4*-L in June and then took top spot in the five-star at Pau Horse Trials in October, in a performance which equestrian data analytics company EquiRatings rated the best of the year.
3. Xavier Faer
Another ride for Tim Price, the more seasoned Xavier Faer had a very solid season with second in the five-star at Kentucky Three-Day Event and then third in the new Maryland 5 Star at the end of the year. He belongs to Trisha Rickards, Nigella Hall and his rider.
5. CHF Cooliser
The 11-year-old CHF Cooliser, owned by Vicky Bates and David Myers and ridden by Tom McEwen, was quite an under-the-radar horse until the end of this year, when she topped third at Millstreet CCI4*-L and seventh at Blair Horse Trials CCI4*-S with second place on her five-star debut at Pau Horse Trials.
6. Lordships Graffalo
A direct reserve for world champion Allstar B for the European Eventing Championships, Lordships Graffalo very much looks like Ros Canter’s next team horse. Owned by Michele Saul, the nine-year-old was second in the CCI4*-Ls at Bicton and Blenheim Horse Trials and squeezed in two wins at CCI4*-S this year too.
7. Chilli Knight
What a moment! Christopher Stone’s Chilli Knight became the only five-star winner on British soil in 2020 or 2021 when he and Gemma Tattersall took the title at Bicton this autumn.
Who didn’t fall in love with Corouet at the European Eventing Championships – if that hadn’t already happened for you earlier in the season? The diminutive chestnut home-bred, owned by his rider’s husband Brett and the Kew Jumping Syndicate, scooped the individual bronze medal with Sarah Bullimore.
9. Brookfield Inocent
John and Chloe Perry’s 12-year-old finished on his dressage score at the Europeans, a foot perfect performance which brought home team gold and individual silver with Piggy March.
10. Billy Walk On
A classy, rangey bay – who brings to mind rider Pippa Funnell’s stars of yesteryear – Billy Walk On excelled to finish second in the five-star at Bicton for dedicated owners Barbara and Nicholas Walkinshaw.
Of course, there are some notable omissions from this list of best event horses in Britain, including the Olympic individual silver medallist Toledo De Kerser, who is 14th in the rankings, but is probably subjectively the best event horse in Britain right now.
- Who would you rate as number one? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we might print your views in a future issue of the magazine. Please include your nearest town and county.
Pictures by Peter Nixon, Benjamin Clark Photography and Nico Morgan Media
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