Title contenders withdrawn from Kentucky and Badminton

  • The latest Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event and Mars Badminton Horse Trials withdrawals include significant title contenders, as the fields for the spring five-stars start to take shape.

    Ros Canter has withdrawn her own and Alex Moody’s Izilot DHI from Kentucky. Last year’s Pau Horse Trials winner is also entered at Badminton and Ros confirmed to H&H she is targeting the Gloucestershire classic, so British fans will have a chance to see Izilot DHI in the flesh at a big five-star this May. Ros and “Isaac” will start among the favourites at Badminton.

    Grace Taylor, a Northamptonshire-based competitor who rides under the US flag, has also withdrawn from Kentucky and holds a Badminton entry to make her debut there. She will ride her mother Ann’s Game Changer, with whom she did a good dressage test and went clear across country at Burghley Horse Trials last year but withdrew before the final horse inspection.

    The other noteworthy point among the Badminton Horse Trials withdrawals is that Gemma Stevens has pulled out Chris Stone’s Jalapeno, who finished sixth there last year, so had a strong chance of being competitive this time.

    “We are all just absolutely gutted,” said Gemma. “She has a tiny little tweak and needs six weeks walking but she is absolutely fine in herself.

    “She is feeling in the form of her life and is so fit and ready to go which has made this even harder to take this time for us as a whole team. Over the last year we have had our fair share of injuries – all completely different – and we all work so hard every single day. It really does take a village and so much meticulous care, time, work and effort to get event horses to a five-star and we started with that care at the beginning of November with Jala. For most even riders and our teams it is our 24/7 life, yes it’s a job but it’s so much more than that too.

    “I feel so very sad for her owners Chris and Lisa Stone who have been unbelievably loyal and supportive owners for around 18 years and I was so looking forward to having two of their special horses at Badminton – it really does take that long to get to this point! I also feel especially sad for Charlotte [Overton], my head girl. Jala is her absolute pride and joy and she basically doesn’t leave her side, spends hours and hours caring for her every need.”

    Gemma is still in the line-up for Badminton on Bicton Horse Trials five-star winner Chilli Knight, also owned by Chris Stone.

    Becky Heappey has also withdrawn Neil Record’s DHI Babette K from Badminton, having been accepted from the waiting list.

    At Kentucky, Tamie Smith will not defend the title she won last year on Mai Baum, owned by Alexandra Ahearn and her parents Ellen Ahearn and Eric Markell, as she has withdrawn her only five-star contender, Elliot V. She has three horses entered in the accompanying four-star class, including Mai Baum.

    Colleen Rutledge has withdrawn FSG Inc and her own Covert Rights from Kentucky, where he was 15th in 2022.

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