Team GBR names a talented squad to defend its European title

2nd Aug 2019

The British Equestrian Federation has today, 2 August 2019, announced the UK Sport National Lottery funded eventing squad which will compete at the FEI Longines Eventing European Championships in Luhmühlen (28 August – 1 September 2019).

Two of the riders who helped to propel Team GBR to team gold at the World Equestrian Games in 2018, Piggy French and Tom McEwen, will return for the European Championships in Luhmühlen. They’ll be joined by Oliver Townend and Tina Cook, both part of the gold medal-winning team at the previous European Championships in 2017, while Laura Collett and Kitty King round out the squad after a season of strong results.

In alphabetical order, the selected squad has been named by British Eventing selectors as:

  • Laura Collett with Karen Bartlett, Keith Scott and her own London 52 (Groom – Zanie King)
  • Kristina (Tina) Cook with Elisabeth Murdoch’s Billy The Red (Groom – Rachel Tolley)
  • Piggy French with Jayne McGivern’s Quarrycrest Echo (Groom – Amy Phillips)
  • Kitty King with Diana Bown, Sally Eyre, Samantha Wilson and Sally Lloyd-Baker’s Vendredi Biats (Groom – Chloe Fry)
  • Tom McEwen with Fred and Penny Barker, Jane Inns and Alison McEwen’s Toledo de Kerser (Groom – Lucy Seddon)
  • Oliver Townend with Angela Hislop’s Cooley Master Class (Grooms – Suzanne Cooper and Charlotte Hollyfield)

Piggy French and Oliver Townend have also each been selected with a direct reserve horse, Piggy with Trevor Dickens’ Vanir Kamira and Oliver with Karyn Shuter, Angela Hislop and Val Ryan’s Ballaghmor Class.

Four immediate reserves have also been selected. In alphabetical order by rider surname, they are:

  • Alex Bragg with Philip and Sally Ellicott’s Zagreb
  • Sarah Bullimore with Christopher and Susan Gillespie and Brett Bullimore’s Reve de Rouet
  • Pippa Funnell with Marek Sebastak and her own Majas Hope
  • Tom McEwen with Barbara Cooper’s Figaro van het Broekxhof

Performance Manager Dickie Waygood said “I am very excited about the squad selection, which includes four senior gold medallists from recent championships. It allows Team GBR to be competitive while still investing in the future, with several horses receiving their first team call-up. While Tokyo 2020 qualification is already secured, this European Championships is an important part of our Olympic preparations, so I’d like to thank all the riders and their owners for making their horses available for selection.”

British Eventing Chief Executive Jude Matthews commented“We were extremely lucky to have so many great combinations on the nominated entries list for selection for these Europeans, and I must thank all our loyal owners for making their horses available for selection. Whilst it is inevitably a disappointment for those who have not made the team, I am delighted for those selected and wish them every success.”

 

Comments from selected athletes:

Laura Collett: “I’m absolutely over the moon to have been selected to represent Team GBR at the Europeans, and I’m delighted for my owners – Karen Bartlett and Keith Scott – who have been so supportive for many years. It’s a real team effort to get to this point so a big thank you to everyone who’s played a part in getting me this far.” 

Tina Cook: “It’s always exciting to get the phone call to represent my country – even though I’ve been lucky enough to have done so on many other occasions, the thrill is still the same. It’s also a great achievement for Elisabeth Murdoch’s Billy The Red, who’s still a young horse at only 12-years-old, to receive his fourth call-up for Team GBR in a row. With top ten placings at the previous Europeans and at the World Equestrian Games last year, I’m really excited for this championships.”

Piggy French: “I am delighted to have been selected for the European Championships with Jayne McGivern’s Quarrycrest Echo. This will be his third championships in a row, so I can’t wait to represent Team GBR again. We have a strong team for Luhmühlen so I am looking forward to getting out there and giving it our best shot to bring home the gold medal.”

Kitty King: “I’m thrilled to have been selected for the Europeans with my wonderful horse Vendredi Biats. He has had a fantastic season so far and I’m excited to see what we can achieve out in Luhmühlen for Team GBR and for his wonderfully supportive owners.”

Tom McEwen: “I’m delighted to be part of such an exciting team heading to Luhmühlen for the European Championships. It’s a great honour for Toledo de Kerser and me to represent our country and an amazing opportunity for my groom, Lucy Seddon, and Toledo’s long-time owner Jane Inns, my mum Alison McEwen and for Fred and Penny Barker, who joined us more recently. A big thank you to everyone who makes up ‘Team McEwen’ for the ongoing support we receive, it’s very much appreciated and I hope we can do you all proud."

Oliver Townend: “It is a very proud day to have two horses, both of whom have been at the yard from youngsters, to be picked for the British team – Cooley Master Class and Ballaghmor Class as direct reserve. Cooley had competed and won at five-star level, but this will be his first championship, which makes it as exciting as ever and I think he could be a very competitive feature for the team. I would like to thank all my team, sponsors, owners and UK Sport for their great support in getting us here.”

 

Comments from owners of selected horses:

Jane Inns (Toledo de Kerser): “I am extremely proud and thrilled that my horse Toledo de Kerser and Tom have been selected to represent Great Britain, it’s a great honour.”

Sally Lloyd-Baker (Vendredi Biats): “Kitty’s been brilliant – she’s given Vendredi Biats a lot of time, and he’s got better and better and had an excellent season. He’s consistent, a talented horse and we’re very lucky to have him.”

Keith Scott (London 52): “I’m absolutely thrilled that London 52 has been selected for the Europeans, we always thought he would be a team horse at some point. He’s come a long way very, very quickly and is capable of beating the very best on his day. I’m a big supporter of Laura, she’s a great rider and has done a great job with the horses.”

 

Comments from grooms of selected horses:

Chloe Fry (Kitty King and Vendredi Biats): “It was such a shock when we got the news. Vendredi Biats did really well at Bramham and Burgham so he and Kitty deserve a place, but it was so amazing to actually hear that they have been selected. To represent Team GBR is a massive achievement and to do it with this horse means so much. I’m so excited, I used to dream about being a team groom and now having the opportunity to do it is amazing.”

Zanie King (Laura Collett and London 52): “For me, it is unbelievable to be selected, especially when you have such a close working relationship with the horse and rider – it means the world. I’m just delighted for Laura and for Dan (London 52). You never assume anything, but when you get selected it brings it all together. It’s a massive reward for lots of talent and hard work that has been put in by all of the team. I love being a team player and working as part of Team GBR is really special.”

Amy Phillips (Piggy French and Quarrycrest Echo): “It’s very exciting to be selected for the Europeans. Quarrycrest Echo (Red) is a really cool horse and I know that he and Piggy will go out there to do their very best for Team GBR. It’s fantastic to be part of the team and we are all really looking forward to getting out there."

 

Rider and horse details:

Laura Collett (30) from Berkshire with Karen Bartlett, Keith Scott and her own London 52 (bay, gelding, 10yo, Landos x Quinar)

Kristina (Tina) Cook (49) from West Sussexwith Elisabeth Murdoch’s Billy The Red (chestnut, gelding, 12yo, Balou de Rouet x Stan the Man XX)

Piggy French (39) from Northamptonshire with Jayne McGivern’s Quarrycrest Echo (chestnut, gelding, 12yo, Clover Echo x Cavalier Royale)

Kitty King (37) from Wiltshire with Diana Bown, Sally Eyre, Samantha Wilson and Sally Lloyd-Baker’s Vendredi Biats (grey, gelding, 10yo, Winningmood van de Arenberg x Camelia de Ruelles)

Tom McEwen (28) from Gloucestershire with Fred and Penny Barker, Jane Inns and Alison McEwen’s Toledo de Kerser (bay, gelding, 12yo, Ariane du Prieure II x Papillon Rouge)

Oliver Townend (37) from Shropshire with Angela Hislop’s Cooley Master Class (bay, gelding, 14yo, Ramiro B x Master Imp)

 

 *Athlete Name (age) (location) with (owner) (horse) (colour, sex, age, sire x dam sire)

 

Equestrian Team GBR is supported by the UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme. The British teams are very grateful for the support they receive from the British Equestrian Federation Fund and official partners Dodson & Horrell, Equi-Trek, Horseware, Musto, NAF and Point Two.