1. What riders think of the European Eventing cross-country course
Izzy Taylor says of Mike Etherington-Smith’s cross-country course at this year’s European Eventing Championships: “I think we’re going to feel like we’ve come out of a washing machine – there’s a lot to do out there, a lot, but it’s a very good track.” Team-mate Piggy March adds: “It is a real championship course and I’m going to have to walk it a lot of times because there’s great potential for getting lost and going the wrong way up strings. There’s plenty of places to just run off things and it’s very technical. The single fences are all big enough too with a lot of twists and turns, so we have got to be on our A game. For sure it’s not going to be a dressage competition.” Well that’s good news then for the sport. Good luck to all the riders on Saturday.
2. Nicola Wilson’s superlative dressage performance at the Euros
Nicola Wilson, one of if not the loveliest person in eventing, took a commanding lead at the end of the first day of Eventing European Championships dressage yesterday (23 September). Piggy March was the early leader for Great Britain on Brookfield Inocent and finished the day sitting in second place, 2.4 penalties behind Nicola, ensuring Team GBR also sat in gold position at the end of day one. Nicola, who rode an expressive test with the Bicton CCI4*-L winner JL Dublin, said: “He loves to show off and he’s confident now in himself, which her perhaps wasn’t before. He was really level-headed and stayed with me and was 100% focused. I’m so so proud – I just needed to remember where I was going!” She went on to describe the Europeans cross-country course as “positively terrifying”. “It’s demanding both mentally and physically and intense towards the end with the twists and turns,” she said. “We look forward to the challenge and hope both of us are up to it.” Piggy and Nicola’s combined scores put Britain 11.8 penalties ahead of France, before today’s second day of Eventing European Championships dressage action. Germany was 1.1 marks behind France in team bronze.
3. Charlotte Dujardin revealing her plans for Mount St John Freestyle
Charlotte Dujardin has revealed her plans for superstar mare Mount St John Freestyle, her double bronze medal-winning ride at the 2018 World Equestrian Games, who was at first expected to be Charlotte’s ride at the Tokyo Olympics. Instead, Charlotte was selected on 10-year-old Gio – with whom she won team and individual bronze medals – after a “fitness issue” with Freestyle ahead of the Games. But yesterday Charlotte said: “Freestyle is at home in my stables and she’s really good. Hopefully I will do the World Cup series with her next year.” We look forward to seeing the pair in action on the winter circuit.
4. What Laura Collett’s Olympic ride London 52 thought of seeing a human being clipped
Tokyo Olympic team gold medallist Laura Collett turned hairdresser this week as she shaved a rider’s head with horse clippers for charity, under the careful supervision of her most intrigued mount, London 52. Rachael Mason pledged to shave her head for Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony, the charity set up by event rider Hannah Francis who died from osteosarcoma aged 18. Rachael reached out to Laura through a mutual friend and asked her to do the honours. London 52’s interest in proceedings is a must watch.
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