13 things you might not know about Piggy French

  • Piggy French’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials win with Trevor Dickens’ mare Vanir Kamira was her first at eventing’s very highest level, but Piggy has been a familiar – and popular – face in the sport for more than 25 years.

    Here’s 13 things you might not know about one of British eventing’s most well-respected riders.

    1. Piggy’s real name is Georgina. Her family nicknamed her Piggy because her sisters thought she looked like Piglet in Winnie The Pooh when she was tiny.

    2. Her first pony was a 12.2hh grey called Sonny.

    3. She was a member of the South Norfolk branch of the Pony Club, and part of the branch eventing team that won the Pony Club Championships in 1998.

    4. Piggy first represented Britain at the 2001 Young Rider European Championships in Waregem, Belgium, winning team gold and finishing fourth individually on Flintlock II.

    5. Flintlock II also took her to her first Burghley in 2002 and Badminton in 2003, going clear cross-country on both.

    6. Piggy won Bramham’s under-25 CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) in 2004 on Which Way II, and finished third aboard Done To Order.

    7. She has older twin sisters – Nini, who has also evented to CCI5* level and who rode Vanir Kamira while Piggy was away at Kentucky before Badminton this year, and Anna.

    8. She went out with Oliver Townend – who finished second to her at Badminton with Ballaghmor Class – for seven years, and they used to share a yard in Leicestershire.

    9. Piggy has represented Great Britain at senior championship level five times – first in 2009, when she won individual silver at the European Championships riding Some Day Soon; at the World Equestrian Games in 2010 with Jakata; in 2011, when she and Jakata won team bronze at the Europeans; in 2017, when she and Quarrycrest Echo were individuals at the European Championships; and most recently in 2018 at the World Equestrian Games, where she was part of the gold medal-winning team aboard Quarrycrest Echo.

    10. She and her fiancé Tom March have a son, Max, who will be three in July. Tom competed up to CIC3* (now CCI4*-S) level himself.

    11. Comedian Jennifer Saunders is one of her owners. The pair met while Jennifer was filming a TV programme in 2011, and Jennifer now owns Cooley Monsoon, who won two CCI2*s (now CCI3*-S) in 2018 and stepped up to CCI4*-S level successfully at Burnham Market, finishing fourth.

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    12. Among Piggy’s 16 three-day-event wins to date is victory at the 2007 Le Lion d’Angers seven-year-old world championships with Cast Away II.

    13. Piggy won the 2011 test event for the London 2012 Olympics on DHI Topper W, and was selected for London with both Topper and Jakata. However, both horses were injured in the build-up to the Games, leaving Piggy on the sidelines.

    Don’t miss our exclusive interview with Piggy French in this week’s issue (on sale 30 May 2019) and for all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday.

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