Horses show high spirits at Bicton trot-up, plus two withdrawn at the last minute

  • All the horses presented at the Chedington Bicton Horse Trials first trot-up today for Britain’s one-off five-star competition were passed on initial inspection.

    Two horses were withdrawn at the last minute – Sophie Jenman’s ride Lordana VH Leysehof Z (“Marlie”) and Becky Heappey’s DHI Babette K – leaving a field of 32 to start the competition.

    Sophie reported: “Whilst we’ve had the perfect preparation and she’s fit, heathy and sound, her routine vet check this week showed a tiny heat patch and, although not serious, I’ve decided not to risk her. I’m absolutely gutted, but her best interests always come first and she’ll be back out and about soon.

    “Thanks to Kay Jenman, my mother, Marlie’s owner and also super groom extraordinare, for her ongoing support as this was obviously disappointing for her too. Good luck to everyone at Bicton this weekend – will be glued to the live stream and rooting for you all!”

    The horses at the first trot-up were brought forward in front of the ground jury, consisting of New Zealand’s Andrew Bennie, Britain’s Jane Tolley and Finland’s Seppo Laine.

    The inspection was in a different place to the area used for the trot-up at the four-star competition in June. This time, horses congregated in a grass arena and then came through a gate into a wooded area, where the trot-up strip had been beautifully decorated with flowers and Chedington boards.

    A number of horses became a little nervous as they came into the trees, with Francis Whittington’s ride DHI Purple Rain showing a very elevated trot and Vanir Kamira – the 2019 Badminton Horse Trials winner – spooking violently off the strip as Piggy March presented her.

    Hiho Silver sponsored a prize of £250 to the best-dressed male and female riders at the Bicton Horse Trials first trot-up, with the cash won by Harry Mutch and Pippa Funnell.

    Smart Grooming gave a prize to the groom of the best turned-out horse, judged by the company and Mary King. This was won by Frankie Murrell, groom to James Avery’s ride Mr Sneezy.

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