Gemma Tattersall’s brilliant cross-country horse Arctic Soul is back in action after an injury break.
The syndicate-owned retrained racehorse finished fifth in an open intermediate at Tweseldown yesterday (9 March), his first competition since landing third place at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials last year.
“He came back from Badminton fine, then four days before selection [for the Rio Olympics] a front leg wasn’t quite 100%,” Gemma told H&H. “Within three weeks the scan was clear and the vet said we could crack on and take him to Pau, but he doesn’t owe me anything and we decided to give him some time.”
“Spike” had “a nice holiday” in the field with Gemma’s Rio ride Quicklook V and came back into work on 1 December.
At Tweseldown he scored 30 in the dressage, before a double jumping clear. Gemma ran the 14-year-old steadily across country and he finished fifth in section D with 10.8 time-faults.
“He’s on amazing form – he felt fresh and well and very happy to be out,” said Gemma. “But he actually knuckled down and did a good dressage test. He was mega in the showjumping and didn’t touch a rail. Across country he was his normal, crazy, amazing self.
“Hats off to Tweseldown who had made so much effort and built the most fantastic track.”
Arctic Soul will now head to Burgham CIC3* (24-25 March) and then Badminton (3-7 May).
“He may do the dressage and showjumping at South of England [8-9 April], but only if he needs to,” added Gemma, who was back at Tweseldown today with three novice rides.
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Arctic Soul was produced to one-star level by Nicky Roncoroni and joined Gemma in 2012. He won the CCI2* at Balcarres that year, before finishing fourth at Blenheim CCI3* in 2013.
In 2014 he was fifth at Burghley and the next season Gemma made her senior squad debut on him at the European Championships at Blair Castle. Here the horse’s brilliance across country really came to the fore in wet conditions and they recorded one of just three clear rounds inside the time to finish ninth.
Full report of Tweseldown in H&H next Thursday (16 March).