It has yet again been another stellar year for British equestrianism; not only have our teams notched up an impressive medal tally but four British athletes end the year holding World number one spots in their respective disciplines.
Out at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, team silver medals for our dressage and eventing athletes bagged them qualification for the Rio Olympics, whilst our para-equestrian dressage team kept up their unbeaten record, taking team gold to also book GBR’s place at the Deodoro Stadium in two years’ time. Impressive performances from the British camp over the two weeks saw a further twelve medals won - six of them gold – helping Great Britain to repeat their Kentucky performance and top the medal table.
Outside the Caen arena’s there was lots more happening as our veterans, seniors, young riders, juniors, ponies and children on horses teams were out competing on the European stage. Across the board our youth teams brought home an impressive fourteen medals, showing massive promise for the future of equestrian sport in Great Britain.
The support we receive from the UK Sport National Lottery, owners and team suppliers enables our teams to have the best possible preparation leading into these international events, and has contributed greatly to the 31 medals won by GBR this year.
All this year’s medallists from the FEI disciplines will be parading at The London International Horse Show, Olympia on Wednesday 17 December 2014;www.olympiahorseshow.com
Out on the Nations Cup circuit, the showjumpers maintained their Division One Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup status whilst British eventers finished second in the series behind Germany in the final standings after a thrilling second placing at the final leg in Boekelo.
UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Development riders were out in force throughout the season, amassing a number of impressive results including Jodie Amos’ win in the inaugural Britannia League with Wise Crack. Fellow Development riders Tom McEwen and Laura Collett flourished out at the eventing FEI World Championships for Young Horses, taking podium placings in the seven year old class at Le Lion d’Angers, whilst Performance rider Piggy French rose up through the ranks with Cooley Dream Extreme to finish third in the six year old class.
RANKINGS ROUND-OFF GREAT 2014
World number one spots have been secured in all three Olympia disciplines, with Scott Brash, Charlotte Dujardin and William Fox-Pitt topping the rider rankings in their respective disciplines after stellar results throughout the 2014 season; whilst Joanne Eccles heads the female vaulting ranking list after her impressive recent outing at the world cup in Paris.
Oliver Townend topped the British Eventing rider rankings for the 2014 season and was the leading British male rider, whilst Nicola Wilson was crowned the British leading lady finishing just a single point ahead of fellow Brit Izzy Taylor.
The British Eventing rankings also highlighted the success of British breeding, with Whitson, owned by Roy Baker and Emma Baker-Jones, ridden by Louise Harwood heading the Top 20 list for the first time.
British equestrian sport has seen recognition by the wider sports industry, the media and the British public:
- Charlotte Dujardin 2014 Sunday Times & Sky Sports Sportswoman of the Year
- Charlotte Dujardin BT Sport Action Woman of the Year
- Charlotte Dujardin finalist of BBC Sports Personality of the Year
- Joanne Eccles shortlisted for the Reem Acra Best Athlete Award for 2014
- Jackie Potts awarded Best Groom at the FEI 2014 Awards
- Carl Hester voted L’Annee Hippique Athlete of the Year 2014
- Badminton Horse Trials voted L’Annee Hippique Best Event of the Year 2014
World Class Head of Performance, Gordon Burton commented; “It has been another great year for Britain’s equestrian athletes and the sport. We set out to achieve Rio qualification, which we have secured in three of the four disciplines, and we will head to the European championships next year eager to secure jumping qualification. It is great to see so many of our younger athletes winning medals for Great Britain on the international stage and bodes well for the future of the sport.”
There’s a lot to look forward to with 2015 promising to be as action-packed as ever. Only two years out from the next Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio, equestrian eyes will turn to Brazil in August as the Test Event for 2016 begins (www.rio2016.com).
We also look forward to another home Championships in Blair, as the Eventing Europeans get underway 10-13 September, supported by the UK Sport Gold Event Series (www.blair2015.com). Aachen is set to host a cross-discipline European Championships in late August, as dressage, jumping, vaulting, driving and reining will be competed in the impressive venue (http://aachen2015.de/en/); whilst para-dressage athletes will head to Deauville for their Europeans in September.