2018 events - the first six months wrap

One of our favourite shots so far this year in our photo galleries - Georgie Spence and Wii Limbo at Badminton


How’s your eventing year shaping up? It’s hard to believe that we’re half way through 2018 already with the big event of the year, the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, looming

We take a look back at some of the highs and lows, best interviews, event highlights and top training tips so far in 2018 from the world of international eventing, starting with the big British events. Click on the highlighted text to take you to any of the articles mentioned to relive in full and enjoy some of our cross country videos reliving some of the top rides


One of our favourite video moments when Francis Whittington enjoyed some fun on cross country with the commentators at Belton International


British events

Burnham and Belton Internationals


When we should have been setting up cameras to film cross country events, we were busy building snowmen


As British riders now enjoy a hot summer and complain about the hard ground, it’s hard to believe that the start of the British eventing season was so wet and plagued by cancellations. Of course we couldn’t resist offering the UK based riders some advice about enduring Snowmageden and competing in bad weather (along the lines of come to Australia) but that was probably little consolation

Some events did go ahead and Piggy French made the most of one of the few events of the early season with three wins at Oasby (1) despite there being only two days of competition. Some events were cancelled outright while others had to be abandoned during the event and one of these was Burnham Market International.

"This is the first time we have ever had to abandon competition here – and hopefully it will be the last” said Event Director Alec Lochore. Although it was a damp and premature end to the Burnham Market International for the international classes, some riders did manage to get a pre-Badminton run in the National classes



Piggy French was once again on the money, this time winning the Advanced on Quarrycrest Echo, finishing almost 10 penalties ahead of Ireland’s Padraig McCarthy.

All eyes were then on Belton International – will run, won’t it run? Traditionally the big B before the even bigger B at Badminton, amazingly the ground turned out to be fantastic and the rain held off until one hour after the event finished with Ireland’s Jonty Evans ecstatic about his first international win, taking the Grantham Cup CIC3*



Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials



We all knew that the 2018 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials could be a very memorable event with Oliver Townend in with a chance of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing following his win at Kentucky but we certainly didn’t foresee what it would actually be remembered for.

It started with lime green trousers and two Yorkshire girls, Lois Teal and Louise Burton, winners of the Mitsubishi Motors Cup BE90 and BE100 Championships but all eyes were on a Yorkshireman – Oliver Townend. The second last rider of the dressage, he rocketed into the lead with his test on the 2017 Burghley 4* winner Ballaghmor Class and his face said it all as he left the arena, as did the pump fist



However it was New Zealand’s Jonelle Price who stole the limelight and the lead off Oliver Townend in the tightest possible finish to the cross country day. Everyone was tipping Jonelle as one who might make the time today on the feisty little mare Classic Moet; in fact no-one made the optimum time of 11:45 but Jonelle came the closest, finishing with just 0.4 time penalties to propel her from 22nd place after dressage into the lead although both Jonelle and Oliver were on a score of 28

The next day the world was whirling in a social media frenzy over Oliver’s riding on cross country but both of his horses passed the second horse inspection with flying colours and looked in great shape. But it was not Oliver’s fairy tale ending of winning the Grand Slam that unfolded – it was the fairy tale ending for a new mother who had never even won a CCI3*, Jonelle Price. The odds were not great. The black mare Classic Moet had not jumped clear in international level eventing competition since 2014 but they had taken her to Spain for five weeks show jumping earlier in the year when the weather was bad in England and it certainly seems to have paid off



The crowd breathed in as Jonelle rattled a few rails but they let out a united roar as she finished with all jumps intact to become the first female winner at Badminton in 11 years. They had performed well in the dressage phase, starting on a score of 27.6 in 22nd place, followed it up with an incredible performance on cross country, adding just 0.4 time penalties then topped it off with a clear round, one of just four double clear rounds in the top session.

Oliver Townend found himself in second place but not on the horse he had expected to do so well, the first timer Cooley SRS who almost emulated his stable mate’s win at Kentucky the previous week. Rising from equal 15th after the dressage, Oliver had moved into fifth place after the cross country and then into second with a double clear show jumping round. His other horse, Ballaghmor Class, going into the show jumping in second place, had two rails down, finishing in fifth place on 36.

Britain’s Ros Canter took third place after a super consistent week, in third place after all three phases

When asked to sum up her feelings about winning in three words, Jonelle said “Dreams come true” and Oliver echoed them, saying “I’m dreaming about Aston-Le-Walls this week, then Floors Castle on Thursday/Friday and Chatsworth on Saturday/Sunday”

And so it did go on …..


Castles and Stately Homes

For a few weeks in May, British eventing becomes a heady mix of country estates, frothy green hedgerows and jugs of Pimms. That is, if you compete at Floors Castle, Chatsworth House, Rockingham Castle and Houghton Hall ...

We headed north to our first ever visit to Floors Castle, a fabulous backdrop to the Land Rover Floors Castle Horse Trials where a young German lady, Antonia Baumgart, impressed by winning the CIC1* at her first ever competition in the UK and Izzy Taylor won the CIC2* on board Monkeying Around. Izzy then headed to Chatsworth with four horses and we followed her down the A1 to Derbyshire



Francis Whittington had an 'excellent' time at Chatsworth International, taking home a win and third place on his first ever visit to the iconic event. Francis and the eight year old Excellent R won the CIC1* Section F and Oliver Townend took one of the CCI3* sections but it was an astounding 3* performance from Ireland’s Cathal Daniels with Rioghan Rua winning the Section B and Sammy Davis Junior taking the Section C.




The next stop was also a beautiful stately home at Rockingham Castle where we talked to Piggy French, James Avery, Sammi Birch and Bubby Upton about their successful day in the CIC2* classes and Jonty Evans was once in the winner’s circle, this time winning the Advanced Intermediate and taking the handmade Loomes watch in the process, coming home one second inside the time and finishing on his dressage score on board Cooley Rorkes Drift

Alexander Bragg had a successful day with 1st and 2nd places in the Open Intermediate and could possibly have been in with a chance to win the Loomes Championship, if he had known about it! Riding at Rockingham for the first time this year Alex is now well aware of the watch on offer and is coming back next year for a more concerted attempt.




Houghton International


It was a truly international line-up at Houghton for the third leg of the Nations Cup where Germany took the win but Britain's Laura Collett was on top form, with three horses in the top 10 of the CICO3* including the winner Mr Bass.



The Olympic gold medallist Dirk Schrade was part of the CICO3* German Nations Cup team but it was in the CIC1* class that he had the best performance individually, winning the class on board Dajara 4 while the super stallion Upsilon and his French rider Tom Carlile were back in action, enjoying a 'sweet ride' and win in the CCI2*

The new British Eventing U21 Champion, Yasmin Ingham, was ‘in total shock’ but her win put her firmly in the selectors eye as part of the British Young Rider Squad heading to Fontainebleau in July



Laura Collett also had a good time over the water in Ireland, winning the CCIYH1* 6 & 7 year-old class and three other ladies clinched the wins on the final day at Tattersalls with Izzy Taylor taking the The Irish Field CCI3*, Piggy French securing another win in the Eventing Ireland CCI2* and Australia’s Emma McNab winning the George Mernagh Memorial CIC3*

The event was marred by the injury of Jonty Evans who fell from Cooley Rorkes Drift in the CIC3*. Jonty remains in hospital having suffered a serious brain injury and the eventing community anxiously awaits his recovery


Next: What happened at major events in the rest of the world?