There was no shortage of drama during the showjumping in the eventing Nations Cup at Aachen today (Friday, 21 July).
The British team went into the second phase standing in fourth place after a promising dressage, which saw Pippa Funnell and Billy The Biz the best of the Brits in seventh.
Pippa and the eye-catching 12-year-old gelding were third to go from the British riders and were enjoying a brilliant round over Frank Rothenberger’s up-to-height track, when they experienced an unlucky tumble at the penultimate double.
After knocking the first element, Billy The Biz appeared to stumble on take off and pecked on landing — leaving his rider tasting the turf. Both horse and rider got up unscathed, although Pippa was nursing a cut on her chin — she remounted to pop the final fence, with the crowd feeling her frustration as she left the arena.
“It was so frustrating for Pippa — Billy The Biz is probably the best jumper in the team and he was foot-perfect up until that point,” commented British chef d’equipe Richard Waygood. “Aachen’s showjumping is always a big, galloping track. However, we remain positive and it is not over yet with the cross-country tomorrow — a lot can happen in eventing.”
Tom McEwen was the first British rider out in the expansive Aachen arena and produced a foot-perfect round aboard the 10-year-old gelding Toledo De Kerser — the pair sat 25th after the dressage.
Piggy French’s 10-year-old ride Quarrycrest Echo had a slight “spooky moment” a stride before the water tray and tapped it behind.
“It was frustrating to have that pole but he’s a young horse and there is a big atmosphere in there — he is improving all the time,” said Piggy.
“I was really pleased with his dressage test, although I was hoping he would get a higher mark.”
The British team are now sitting in fifth overnight. The British individual rider Alexander Bragg enjoyed a clear round, just picking up one time penalty with Zagreb
Germans in the lead overnight
The Germans held the top-three placings going into the showjumping phase and, although the order of the riders changed, the podium spots were all maintained by the home-side going into tomorrow’s cross-country.
Sandra Auffarth led the dressage aboard the flashy Opgun Louvo on a mark of 31.8, stealing the top spot from teammate Ingrid Klimke (Horseare Hale Bob OLD). Third-last to go Michael Jung and La Biosthetique-Sam FBW held third.
However, when Sandra knocked the middle element of the problematic treble it dropped her down to third — both Ingrid (pictured, above) and Michael’s flawless clear rounds boosted them to the top of the leaderboard, with Ingrid holding the top spot overnight.