Britain spoilt for choice in picking Nations Cup team for Winter Equestrian Festival

  • Britain’s chef d’equipe Di Lampard has selected a mix of youth and experience for the British team in Saturday’s FEI $150,000 Nations Cup CSIO 4* at the Winter Equestrian Festival.

    “This year we have 10 riders out here in Florida, which is absolutely fantastic,” Di said. “It isn’t really surprising that it’s increased in number. Covid has changed the landscape of everything in the world, let alone showjumping. And there are a lot of tours going on and riders are going in all directions to take opportunities. It’s fantastic for them to come out here and experience this.”

    Ben Maher and Faltic HB are to anchor the team, which also includes debutant Matthew Boddy, who rides for Georgina Bloomberg and has been based in the USA for some years.

    “Matthew’s a great character and a great rider,” said Di. “And he’s worked very hard to get this super horse [Balotelli 5] and to have this chance to represent his country. He fully deserved his position in the team, because he’s had consistent placings and it’s really nice for him to get the reward of the Nations Cup and I hope it’s a trampoline for him going forward.”

    Jessica Mendoza, also based stateside, a previous Nations Cup team rider, and Sam Hutton make up the team, with reserves 18-year-old Grace Debney and Amanda Derbyshire.

    Di has been focusing on the team spirit and a get-together took place for all the riders to convene amid the whirlwind that is the Winter Equestrian Festival.

    “It’s quite difficult here at Wellington because they all have their barns very close and a lot of them are working on a lot of horses for their owners so they compete and then they’re gone again,” said Di. “But we did have a nice get together just outside the international stables and they all had a good chat and a little bit of banter – they know the programme leading up to Saturday night and they’re all focused. Prior to this week the riders have been helping each other as well, they’ve been communicating so that’s good. We’re all looking forward to it.”

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