Fiona Bigwood’s Rio Olympic medallist horse Atterupgaards Orthilia has been sold to the Danish international grand prix rider Agnete Kirk Thinggaard, and the horse has already moved abroad.
After winning team silver at the Rio Olympic Games, Fiona credited the bouncy Gribaldi x Donnerschlag mare — now 12 — for her return to riding after a career-threatening accident in which she fell from a horse in April 2014. She now competes in an eye patch to help mitigate the double vision caused by the accident.
“It was a very hard decision but Tillie is in the prime of her competition career and I want the best for her,” said Fiona. “My home commitments mean I can only do around four top level shows a year and she deserves to have her full potential realised.
“She’s the most talented, generous and clever horse I’ve ever ridden, but I know she’ll have the best home and chance of success with Agnete. We waved her off yesterday on her journey to her new home in Denmark.”
Fiona and her husband Anders Dahl have recently located to a new base near Haywards Heath in West Sussex — with a guide price of £6m — which needs major renovation and will take up much of Fiona’s time.
However she has no plans to retire any time soon.
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“I love training and competing, so my career is far from over. I have some exciting youngsters at home and am currently looking for another so I’m not ready to hang my boots up just yet!” she added.
“My priority is my family and home so while I won’t be out competing at the big internationals for a while, I’ll still be busy at home working on producing a future Olympic champion for Britain.”
Fiona has recently bought a new horse, the rising six-year-old Oldenburg gelding Daytona Platinum (Dante Weltino x Charon), who finished sixth at the 2016 bundeschampionat in Germany.
On Tillie’s sale, British Dressage’s chief executive Jason Brautigam said: “I’m sure everyone in the dressage community will be sad to see Tillie go and break this magic partnership. She’s hugely talented and still has great potential for the future, so this is a big loss to Team GBR.
“On behalf of British Dressage, we would like to thank both Fiona and Tillie for their significant contribution to the two team silver medals in 2015 and at last year’s Olympics.
“While this combination will be much missed, Fiona’s stable of exciting youngsters will hopefully mean that she’s back as part of our medal-winning teams in the near future.”