British Carriagedriving have today announced the squad for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which takes place in Normandy, France (23 August – 7 September, with the driving competition taking place 4-7 September at La Prairie Racecourse in Caen).
The selected team comprises (in alphabetical order):
- Wilf Bowman-Ripley (45) from Great Canfield, Essex
- Georgina Hunt (44) from Newdigate, Surrey
- Dick Lane (52) from Cranleigh, Surrey
Non-travelling reserves (in ranked order):
- George Bowman (79) from Penrith, Cumbria
- Pippa Bassett (51) from Newdigate, Surrey
- Mark Broadbent (55) from Clayhidon, Devon
Chef d’Equipe Zoe Morgan commented on the selection; “I’m really excited about the squad and am looking forward to heading out to Normandy; we went out to the Test Event last year so we’re not going out completely blind which is a good feeling to have. Selection is done on a points system, with shows taking place at the end of last year and this year. Our drivers can collect points from five shows; Wilf and Georgina got three good scores at their first three shows which meant that no one could really beat them.”
Chef de Mission, Will Connell commented; “There have been some exciting results recently for British drivers demonstrating that driving in Great Britain is very much on the up. We’re delighted to see a British team back at WEG and look forward to seeing the British drivers pitch themselves against the world’s leading athletes.”
Commenting on their selection;
Wilf Bowman Ripley: “I’ve been working on this for the last four years. This year it just clicked; I’ve added two new horses to the team [Roderick and Nero] and they’ve made a big impact. I’ve been to four world championships, pairs and teams, and won a gold medal in 1997, but this will be my first WEG. We’ve been competing internationally to get prepared for it and get the horses used to an atmosphere. We drove at the Test Event and it’s a fantastic venue, the surface was brilliant and kept great throughout the competition.”
Georgina Hunt: “I’m delighted to be selected, it’s something I’ve been working towards for what feels like the last ten years. The timings just right for me; I’m delighted that I’ve come to form for Normandy. I’ve got my parents, daughter and husband heading out with me which will be extra special. We went out to the Test Event last year; in my mind it was very advantageous, I know it will be different but to have a bit of familiarity is great.”
Dick Lane: “Over the moon and very proud to be representing the country again [after being part of the team in Jerez, 2002 and Aachen, 2006]. The World Equestrian Games is the top competition; it’s like our equestrian Olympics, surrounded by all the other disciplines. It’s great to be part of one big equestrian GB team; just really fab, and to wear the clothing and receive the backing is brilliant.”
Each driver drives a team of four horses; all three drivers compete as individuals and also form the team, to contest the team event at the Championships. Similar to eventing, the competition has three phases – driven dressage, marathon and cones.
Equestrian Team GBR is supported by the UK Sport Lottery funded World Class Programme; the British teams are very grateful to the support they receive from official Team GBR suppliers Dodson and Horrell, Land Rover, Mears Country Jackets, NAF, NuuMed, Point Two Equine, Tagg Equestrian and Toggi.