Britain has moved up to the team gold position after cross-country in the Mars-sponsored eventing at the World Equestrian Games today (Saturday, 15 September).
In a superlative performance, all four British team riders put in clears inside the time.
“It’s absolutely fantastic, unbelievable,” said chef d’equipe Dickie Waygood. “They were class acts — I can’t wait to watch the videos back and see the performances. They sat beautifully, the horses reacted to them and the way they came up the hill at the end was superb.”
Gemma Tattersall, the pathfinder on The Soul Syndicate’s Arctic Soul, said: “Arctic Soul is a complete cross-country machine. My job was to go out and go clear inside the time. Luckily I was able to set the tone for the day and these guys followed, so that was brilliant.
“I was 15 seconds down at the bottom of the hill [at the end of the course] and was back on time at on my eighth minute marker. I was pulling up from the second to last fence to the end, which shows what a fast horse he is.”
Piggy French went out second for the team riding Jayne McGivern’s Quarrycrest Echo. She now lies eighth individually.
She commented: “I’m proud of my horse — he had to get really gritty and dig very deep. It was harder work than it walked, a bit like being in a tumble drier.”
Tom McEwen piloted Jane Inns, his own and his mother Ali’s Toledo De Kerser and has moved up to 10th.
He said: “My horse was class, I couldn’t have asked any more from him. As a team we had a plan right off from start and don’t think we ever wavered, we knew what we were doing and everyone seriously delivered.”
Ros Canter’s performance with her own and Caroline Moore’s Allstar B elevated her from bronze individually to silver.
“Today was all about the team, as was yesterday — that’s my number one focus and will remain so,” she said. “The fact I’m in silver is a bonus and very exciting, but I’ve got to thank the whole team and support team. Going fourth I had all the information and it really helped me.”
British individual Tina Cook also jumped clear on Elisabeth Murdoch and Keith Tyson’s Billy The Red, finishing with just 2.4 time-faults for 14th after this phase.
“On the first walk of the course, we were a bit dismissive, but the more times we walked it the more problems we could see,” she said. “It was a bit more undulating than it looked and proved a proper championship track.”
Ireland has moved up from seventh after dressage to the team silver position. Sarah Ennis on Horseware Stellor Rebound is also holding the individual bronze slot.
“I’m delighted. I was down on the clock bottom of hill, but he went off like a racehorse — Rocket by name, Rocket by nature,” she said, referring to the horse’s stable name.
France is now holding the team bronze position, their effort spearheaded by Thibaut Vallette (Qing Du Briot ENE HN) who has held onto individual fourth.
The Germans, team gold medallists after dressage, had a disappointing day and Julia Krajewski and Chipmunk lost their individual gold spot due to a run-out at the combination of corners at fence 14, the CSX Junction. But Ingrid Klimke has moved up from second to first individually on SAP Hale Bob OLD.
“I had a lovely round and enjoyed the course a lot. ‘Bobby’ was really fit, he really cantered up the hill and got his second wind so I could ride for the time,” she said.
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The US team effort also fell apart, with their best-placed rider after dressage, Boyd Martin (Tseterleg), having a stop at the boat in the middle of the Mars Sustainability Bay at fence 10.
With Tropical Storm Florence approaching Tryon, the cross-country was run at three-minute intervals rather than the planned four minutes, so that the action would be finished sooner. There were a few showers today, but the conditions were generally horse friendly, with temperatures much lower than on the dressage days.
Keep up to date with all the latest from WEG on horseandhound.co.uk and read our full eventing report inHorse & Hound next week (20 September issue).