Three wins for Piggy French at Oasby 1

      Piggy French and Vanir Kamira start their campaign towards Badminton


Oasby (1) was beset by difficulties with snow the week prior bringing the country to a standstill and then rain forcing cancellation of the weekend classes but at least the riders managed to get in two days of competition on Thursday and Friday to start the season

Oliver Townend, Izzy Taylor, Ros Canter and Piggy French were just four of the big names starting their season at Oasby and all four went away with wins. Among his 10 rides Oliver won the Open Novice B on Coldplay III and had several placings including sixth on Cooley Down Under, a horse whose name may give away the origin of its Australian owner, Tim Boland.

Piggy was competing eight horses and had yet another fantastic start to the season with four wins on Cooley Monsoon (Open Intermediate L), Emerald Jonny (Novice C) and Graf Cavalier (Intermediate H)

“Oasby is a nice event to get horses going at the start of the season and to step up a level at the back end” says Piggy “Cooley Monsoon is owned by Jennifer Saunders and was a prolific winner last year so we hope he will be as competitive at 2* level this year. Graf Cavalier is owned by Trevor Dickens (who owns Vanir Kamira) and has just stepped up to Intermediate level so it was pleasing for her to go so well. She is still a work in progress but keeps going the right way so I hope she can be competitive in 2* at the start of this season. Cooley Monsoon will do the CIC2* at Burnham and both horses go to Belton for the CIC2* there”

“Emerald Jonny is owned by my partner Tom. He’s a super little horse and really great to ride. It’s easy to forget he’s only six years old but he’s won both his Novices and we will crack on with him at 1* level and look to move him up to Intermediate level when he’s ready in the middle of the year. The ultimate objective would be Osberton for the BE 6YO Championships but we might try to get selected for Le Lion with him as well as he will definitely be ready for that this year”

Like most competitors, Piggy had some interruption to the horses’ preparation for Oasby but it didn’t seem to do them much harm!

“We missed a few days with the snow but were ready for it coming so we still had lessons with Yogi Breisner and Ian Woodhead two days beforehand. We actually had to stop the lessons with Ian because of the snow in the end but the horses that needed work ready for their events got it so we could afford a couple of quiet days without losing too much ground. The hardest thing was that we had a few horses meant to be running in an ON/BE100 at Isleham before going Intermediate/Novice at Oasby so they had to go straight in at the deep end but they all coped well”

Piggy also had Vanir Kamira, who finished second at Burghley last year and is heading to Badminton in May, competing in the Open Intermediate Section L

“I was really pleased with Vanir Kamira in all three phases at Oasby. I was happy with her dressage and thought she did a nice test although the judge didn’t like it much. However, I’m more concerned with her feeling in a good place mentally than anything else at this stage of the season. We are working backwards from Badminton with her and she will run at Lincoln this weekend in the OI and then will go to Burnham and Belton for the CIC3* before going to Badminton. She feels much more established with me this year so I hope she can show the same level of progress in competition when it counts”

Ibby Macpherson and Ballingowan Diamond took the Open Intermediate Section K, pipping Izzy Taylor on the 2017 Le Lion D’Angers winner Monkeying Around into second place, but Izzy had a win in the Open Intermediate Section J on Springpower


       Izzy also took 5th place on Serafina in the OI Sec J


On Thursday five sections of BE100 started off the event with Ros Canter on DHI Jura, Victoria Banks on Miss Junior, Lauren Blades on Edelweis V, Hayden Hankey on Novaturient and Laura Greenhalgh on Stanhopes Travelling Man all winning their sections

“I had a great start to the season at Oasby” says Lauren Blades, who is probably still better known by her maiden name of Lauren Shannon “BEDE events and all their volunteers did such an amazing job keeping the show on the road in less than perfect conditions. My horses all came off the lorry fresh and keen to get out eventing again, so it was great to get them out and have a spin round before the BE100 horses all move up to novice level next week”

“I'm so lucky to have a stunning string of horses to compete this year, and the icing on top is that we always have such a great time with their owners out on the circuit. It's always a busy time of year gearing up for the season, so it's almost a relief to get the first competition out the way and now I feel like we can all breathe and relax into the competition routine! Oasby is a great event to start with because the courses are fair and educational, so my horses all feel as though they have gotten off to a great start”

It may not have been the full four days of competition but at least it broke the ice (metaphorically and literally!) and the eventing season is now officially underway

Congratulations to all the winners, who also picked up valuable points for the various Tri-Star Leagues, but particularly the winners of An Eventful Life cross country videos. Watch and learn the winning ways in the videos below!


Section H Intermediate: Piggy French and Graf Cavalier

Section M Novice: Storm Straker and Well Designed

Section N Open Novice: Louise Harwood and Trevillick

Section B Open Novice: Oliver Townend and Coldplay III

Section E1 BE100: Laura Greenhalgh and Stanhopes Travelling Man

Section F1 BE100 Open: Lauren Blades and Edelweis V