Britain takes The Plains Nations Cup win and series lead

The victorious British team at The Plains, Ben Hobday, Leslie Law, Sophie Brown and Georgie Spence with Chef d’Equipe Philip Surl


After three trips across the Atlantic, the British team were victorious at this year’s leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup at The Plains in the USA.

The British team of Sophie Brown, Ben Hobday, Georgie Spence, and Leslie Law, led the team competition from the dressage phase on a score of 97.7, picking up just 1.6 penalties to add to their team score in show jumping, and finishing on a three-phase team score of 138.5 after the cross country, more than 10 points ahead of the second-placed Canadian team on 148.7 and Team USA on 157.5.


       Clear show jumping for Sophie Brown and Wil


Although Britain was leading after the dressage and jumping phases the final results were very much up in the air until the end of the cross country with Mike Etherington-Smith’s cross country course causing problems for quite a few, especially at the pair of brush corners in the arena, and only five riders finished within the optimum time.


     Georgie Spence and Halltwon Harley


The individual winner, the USA’s Will Coleman riding Off The Record was one of those, finishing on 35.1, but it was a close thing. The trailblazers for the British team, Georgie Spence on the Weiner Neustadt 2017 winner Halltown Harley, were the top-placed individuals for Great Britain, placing second on their dressage score of 35.2.

Olympian Leslie Law and Voltaire De Tre, Tre’ Book’s nine-year-old gelding, anchored the British team late in the day, jumping clean and picking up 8.8 time penalties to end the weekend in ninth place on 46.4 penalties.

Ben Hobday and his own and Jane Chambers’ Shadow Man an eight-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, sat in second place overnight on a two-phase score of 29.7 but picked up an unfortunate run-out at 9B to finish in 16th place on a final score of 56.9.

“It’s a little bit bittersweet for me,” said Hobday, “but the team has done an amazing job. It’s nice to be in the position I was going into cross country but he’s a young horse and I think a lot of him. He just came out a little bit green, a little bit looky. As he cantered down the hill into the arena it was a little bit of a shock for him. It happens. This is the job we’re in and I’m grateful we got him home sound, safe, and he’s still feeling good. It’s disappointing, but we’re going to hold our head high and look to the next show. Hopefully that horse will do something very special soon.”


      Leslie Law and Voltaire De Tre


Sophie Brown and her longtime partner Wil, a 15-year-old gelding she owns with her mother, also picked up 20 penalties at 9B and added an additional 10.4 time penalties to their overnight score of 34.4 to finish in 18th place.

“It was good to come on a horse that’s still pulling,” said Brown. “I think the course did that really well. I know Wil like the back of my hand and he was jumping big. When you look back on the course, with the hanging log he became a little bit of an introvert on me, which then gave him a glance-off. I wish those corners were the other way around, as probably lots of riders do. What was good to know was that he came home pulling and quick and healthy and happy. Maybe another day my dice will roll a bit differently but it was good fun.”

Canada’s Jessic Phoenix and Pavarotti finished in third place individually with a score of 36.7

Great Britain now leads the 2018 Nations Cup Eventing Series with 245 points, Sweden in second place on 205 points and France on 200 points

Full results here