Great Britain’s bid for a place at the final of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup began solidly when the team finished equal third in the first leg of the Western European League (division one) in La Baule last Friday (17 May).

The squad of Nick Skelton (Big Star), Ben Maher (Cella), Scott Brash (Hello Sanctos) and Robert Smith (Voila IV) collected a total of 13 faults — Nick producing one of only two double clears of the competition — to share the spoils with Ireland and France.

The Netherlands won with Switzerland taking second.

“It’s early days — the horses all jumped well, especially when you consider it’s so early in the season,” said Team GBR’s performance manager Rob Hoekstra.

“Big Star in particular was fantastic putting in two brilliant performances.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (23 May 2013)