Double five-star winner to retire from top level: ‘The right decision for her’

  • The outstanding mare Vanir Kamira will retire from five-star competition, aged 18, following her Burghley Horse Trials win last autumn.

    Piggy March and “Tilly”, owned by Trevor Dickens, also won Badminton Horse Trials in 2019 and the pair have a brilliant record of top placings at five-star level.

    “Badminton entries closed yesterday and with mixed emotions I can say Vanir Kamira’s name won’t be on the list this year,” said Piggy.

    “She’s still in great form at 18 and enjoying her work as much as ever but I really wanted to retire her from five-star level when she was at the top of her game. I’m really grateful to her owner Trevor Dickens for agreeing this is the right decision for her.

    “It’s not been an easy decision as there’s no reason she couldn’t be going back to Badminton again for another go. However, I think we owed it to her to stop at that level whilst we had the choice and I definitely never wanted to be in a position when that decision was taken out of our hands.

    “Going forward we’re going to do some one-day events with her starting with the OI [open intermediate] at Lincoln tomorrow. There’s no grand plan so we’ll just see where she takes us. Whilst she’s still enjoying it, we’ll keep enjoying her and let her tell us what she wants to do.

    “She’s been the horse of a lifetime for me and also for her owner Trevor Dickens, her groom Amy [Phillips] and all the team here at Maidwell. But more than that she’s also become a horse of a lifetime for so many other people who can relate to her guts and determination to succeed. I’ve said it a million times before but she’s not the most talented in the world but she has got the heart of a lion which is what counts in eventing.

    “We’ll treasure all the five-star memories forever and be forever grateful for how much she has given us all. Thank you, Tilly Bean, you’re a bloody superstar!”

    Vanir Kamira was bred in Ireland by Kathryn Jackson, by Camiro De Haar Z. She started her career with Piggy, but then spent four years with Izzy Taylor and Paul Tapner, returning to Piggy in 2017.

    As well as their two wins at five-star, the pair finished fourth at Badminton last year and have landed second place twice at Burghley (2017 and 2019) as well as fifth in 2018. They were also third at the one-off five-star at Bicton Horse Trials in 2021.

    Piggy has never made a secret of the fact that there is a lot of work involved in managing Vanir Kamira to produce her at her best and her openness about this has only increased fans’ engagement with the pair.

    “I owe her so very much and it’s her heart and her mind that have separated her from normal horses that I’ve had,” said Piggy after her Burghley win last year.

    Read more about the decision to retire Vanir Kamira in Piggy’s column in next week’s Horse & Hound magazine (issue dated 23 March) or online next week.

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