Brits with foreign connections in the equestrian Olympic events

  • With just three days to go until the Games kick off in Greenwich Park, British riders, owners and trainers will be feeling the pressure more than most.

    But as well as those representing our country, there are many Brits with foreign connections who’ll be cheering on two nations this summer.

    One of those is German team trainer – and former Team GBR rider – Christopher Bartle, who’s looking forward to the showdown between the two countries. “Preparation is going well for the German team,” he said.

    “But the fact it’s in London makes it extra special, Greenwich is an awesome venue.”


    Brits have strong connections with other countries in this discipline – especially in the New Zealand camp.

    Scotland-based Lexi Jackson and her mother Jane MacKinnon are the proud owners of Lenamore, who will be ridden by Caroline Powell at their second Olympics. The popular 19-year-old grey was best of the New Zealand horses in Hong Kong in 2008, when he finished 14th.

    Reserve for the New Zealand team is British-born Lucy Jackson, while Italian rider Vittoria Panizzon’s Borough Pennyz is owned by Brit Sally Bullen, who also bred the horse.

    Australian team member Lucinda Fredericks rode for Britain before changing nationality when she married Clayton. She also rides a Scottish-owned horse, Donald Reid’s Flying Finish.

    “We’re very lucky to have a huge number of British supporters,” said Lucinda. “It’s incredibly exciting to compete at London, especially as my parents will be able to watch.”


    Siril Helljesen will be the first Norwegian dressage rider to compete at the Olympics for 60 years. She is trained by Norfolk-based Paul Fielder.

    “It is special for me to have worked with a British trainer for so long and now to be competing in London,” she said.

    New Zealand rider Vanessa Way and her horse KH Arvan have been training with Carl Hester in the run up to the Games. But sadly her horse went lame last week and they cannot take part.


    Ireland’s Billy Twomey will be representing his country riding British owners Eddie and Sue Davies’ Tinka’s Serenade. It is Billy’s first Games, but the Davies are experienced Olympians.

    And they also own Team GBR eventer Imperial Cavalier, ridden by Mary King.

    “We’ve been in this ‘dual country’ situation before, in Hong Kong, but having two horses at the Olympics in London is something we’ll never forget. We’re extremely proud,” said Sue.

    Sultan V will be campaigned in London by Saudi Arabian rider Abdullah Al Sharbatly. The horse changed hands in December in order to be ridden under the Saudi Equestrian banner.But before that the Old Lodge home-bred 10-year-old gelding had a fantastic career with West Sussex rider Bruce Menzies.

    This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (19 July 2012)

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