With a home European Championships on the horizon for Great Britain’s eventing athletes, British Eventing senior selectors have announced the squad of twelve that will compete on home soil at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships in Blair Castle, Scotland (10-13 September 2015).
Part of UK Sport’s National Lottery funded #EveryRoadtoRio series, supporting British athletes’ preparation and qualification for Rio 2016, this summer’s event is the last major Championship before the Olympic Games, where GBR will be represented having already qualified a team spot after the World Equestrian Games last year.
The squad sees five athletes making their senior team debuts, whilst fourof those selected have previously competed at a home Europeans, after riding at Blenheim in 2005.
The selected squad has been named as (in alphabetical order):
- Laura Collett (25) from West Berkshire with Mrs Diana Chappell’s Grand Manoeuvre
- Dani Evans (23) from Bristol with Mrs Luana Edge’s Smart Time
- William Fox-Pitt (46) from Sturminster Newton, Dorset with Mrs Catherine Witt’s Bay My Hero
- Pippa Funnell MBE (46) from Dorking, Surrey with Mrs Jennifer A Nolan, Miss Ruth McMullen and her ownSandman 7
- Flora Harris (27) from Hungerford, Berkshire with Mrs Caroline Harris and Ms Rebecca Salt’s Bayano
- Kitty King (32) from Chippenham, Wiltshire with Jane and Frank Inns Persimmon
- Gemma Tattersall (30) from Horsham, West Sussex with The Soul Syndicate's Arctic Soul
- Izzy Taylor (32) from Banbury, Oxfordshire with Miss Susan Holroyd and Ms Frances Carter’s British Bred Allercombe Ellie
- Oliver Townend (32) from Ellesmere, Shropshire with Mr P J Hegarty’s Fenyas Elegance
- Francis Whittington (37) from Crowborough, East Sussex with Mrs Catherine Witt’s Easy Target
- Nicola Wilson (38) from Northallerton, North Yorkshire with Mary & Gerry Kemp and Mrs Janine Shewan’s One Two Many
- Holly Woodhead (21) from Marlborough, Wiltshire with Ian and Heidi Woodhead’s DHI Lupison
Four of the selected athletes have also been named with direct reserve horses; William Fox-Pitt is selected with Miss Carol Gee and Mrs Catherine Witt’s Fernhill Pimms and Mrs Catherine Witt’s Luxury F H. Pippa Funnell is selected with Mr Marek Sebestak and her own Second Supreme; Izzy Taylor has KBIS Briarlands Matilda, owned by Mr Guy Avis as a direct reserve, whilst Nicola Wilson is also named with WEG ride, Mary and Barry Tweddle’s Annie Clover.
Yogi Breisner, Chef d’Equipe for the Eventing team commented; “I am really looking forward to going to Blair for a home European Championships. We are taking a very good and exciting squad with a lot of riders gaining their first senior Championship experience; we have also got some promising young horses making their Championship debut.”
Selected reserves (in order of selection):
- Tom Jackson (22) from Kent, with Mr Ian & Mrs Sara Jackson and his own Waltham Fiddlers Find
- Wills Oakden (25) from Fife, Scotland with Mr David Kenwright’s Greystone Midnight Melody
- Tina Cook (44) from Worthing, West Sussex with Mr Jim Chromiak and her own De Novo News
- Jodie Amos (31) from Warwickshire with Miss Nicola Coates and her own Wise Crack
- Sarah Bullimore (42) from Keysoe, Bedfordshire with Mr Brett Bullimore and her own Lilly Corinne
- Emilie Chandler (34) from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire with Miss Sally Williams and Miss Nicola Dickson’s Coopers Law
Peformance Director, Dan Hughes commented; "Despite having 12 combinations to select for the European Championships at Blair Castle by dint of a home championships the selectors task has not been an easy one. The recent success of a number of younger riders who are seeking to challenge their more experienced counterparts has resulted in a squad with an exciting mix of experience and youth. Obviously these Championships are important in their own right, although it won't be lost on any of our athletes that there is now just over a year to go before the 2016 Rio Olympics.
"Renowned for being one of the most popular events on the Eventing circuit, Blair Castle is the perfect venue to hold this year's Championships. The warm Scottish welcome is second to none and the organisers are the best in the business. As ever we extend our thanks to UK Sport and Lottery Funding in recognition of their support for this year's Eventing European Championships, and of the equestrian World Class Programme and Team GBR. Without this support our programme's ultimate objective, to win team and individual medals in all equestrian disciplines at next year's Olympic and Paralympic Games, would be that much harder".
All riders compete as individuals at the Championships; four riders will be announced before the start of the competition to contest the team event.
Equestrian Team GBR is supported by the UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme; the British teams are very grateful to the support they receive from official Team GBR suppliers Dodson & Horrell, Equi-Trek, Land Rover, NAF, NuuMed, Point Two Equine, Tagg Equestrian and Toggi.
Laura, Flora and Holly are all members of the World Class Programme Podium Potential squad, as are selected reserves Tom, Wills, Jodie and Emilie.