Piggy French, British event rider

  • Piggy French first rode for Britain at championship level at the 2001 young rider European Championships in Waregem, Belgium, finishing fourth individually and winning team gold with Flintlock II. She was also under-25 national champion in 2004 on Which Way II.

    Having progressed into senior ranks, Piggy has several four-star completions under her belt and has established herself as a regular winner on the national circuit.

    Piggy was based in Leicestershire but has moved to a new yard at Maidwell in Northamptonshire, and makes a living buying and selling horses, supported chiefly by her father Wally and Michael Underwood.

    She enjoyed a giant payday in 2006 when she clinched £25,000 for winning the Liberte Shropshire Slam, a prize for any rider (or owner of a horse) with three consecutive wins in any international section at Weston Park’s autumn fixture and the Sansaw CIC2*.

    Piggy received her first senior squad call-up when she was pulled off the reserves bench to represent Britain at the 2009 European Championships, riding Some Day Soon. She made a dazzling squad debut, claiming the individual silver medal behind fellow Brit Tina Cook.

    A year later, she rode as an individual at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky on Jakata, finishing 16th.

    In 2011, Piggy finished second at Badminton on Jakata and won a team bronze medal at the European Championships in Luhmuhlen on him. She also won her first CCI3* in 2011 when she triumphed at Blenheim on DHI Topper W, who also took the top spot in the Olympic test event at Greenwich.

    Piggy was initially named for the 2012 Olympic British eventing team with a choice of two rides, Topper and Jakata, but she suffered the terrible luck of both her horses going wrong in quick succession and missing out on the Games.

    In 2013 Piggy secured her place in the British squad for the eventing European Championships with Tinkas Time, following a win in the CIC3* at Barbury.

    But she was swiftly dealt another cruel blow when a minor injury to Tinkas Time ruled them out of the squad.

    Piggy’s real name is Georgina — Piggy is a childhood nickname she received after her sisters visited her in hospital shortly after her birth and decided she looked like Piglet in Winnie the Pooh. Born in 1980, she is orginally from Norfolk and her mother Kate competed to advanced level.

    Don’t miss our exclusive interview with Piggy French in today’s issue of H&H — where she talks about dealing with a tough 12 months and her plans for her new yard

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