Year in review - 2018

27th Dec 2018

William Funnell becomes four time champion

William Funnell joined a prestigious group of Hickstead record holders back in June when he became the fifth rider to win the The Al Shira'aa Derby for a fourth time on board his home bred, Billy Buckingham. The 52 year-old edged fellow World Equestrian Games team mate Holly Smith, on board Quality Old Joker, owned by James Mossman,  who was bidding to become the first female winner since 2011, in a fiercely contested jump-off.

William Fox-Pitt receives MBE

Three-time Olympic medallist William Fox-Pitt was among the recipients to be honoured for equestrian achievements in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. The 49 year-old who has represented Great Britain at 18 major championships including five Olympic Games, received an MBE for his services to equestrian sport. Also recognised were Gina Kitchen, Ms Emma Louise Ford, Mrs Charlotte Elizabeth MacDonald, Miss Doreen Mary Malize Calder and Mr John Maurice Chambers.

Youth success

The British youth teams enjoyed plenty of success over the summer winning seven medals in Fontainebleau. Harry Charles was crowned European Champion in Fontainebleau with his father, Peter Charles’ Vivaldi Du Dom as the jumping young rider team also won Gold. The junior jumping team defended their team title whilst Oliver Fletcher took an Individual Silver with Hello Disckoboy D.N., owned by Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham. Elsewhere in driving, Collette Holdsworth was crowned Junior Champion out in Hungary with her mother, Catherine Holdsworth's Pepper.

Read more in our full report

Jack Whitaker follows in his father’s footsteps

Jack Whitaker won Team GB’s first medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina as the European team claimed Team Silver in the equestrian competition. Competing on his 17th birthday, Jack, the son of Michael Whitaker, competed on a borrowed horse alongside fellow young riders from Europe in a mixed international jumping competition and jumped clear to help his team get on the podium. His success came 34 years after his father won Silver at the Los Angeles Olympic Games.


Oliver Townend tops the rankings

Oliver Townend has finished the year as the World number one eventing rider after a whirlwind year which saw him fractionally miss out on the Grand Slam of eventing after finishing second at Badminton Horse Trials following consecutive wins at Burghley and in Kentucky. Oliver soared to the top in May and the following month saw all top three places occupied by British riders with Gemma Tattersall and Ros Canter moving up to second and third respectively. 



Francesca Sternberg leads GB at the World Equestrian Games

Reiner, Francesca Sternberg represented British team at the opening ceremony of the FEI World Equestrian Games as she carried the flag into the arena in front of many enthusiastic fans from around the world. Competing at her fifth World Equestrian Games.

“I’m very, very honoured to be waving the flag for Great Britain. I have been a strong supporter of reining for the FEI ever since it started and I am very lucky to have represented GBR at the last four World Equestrian Games. I was on the demo team for the first WEG in 1998 and since then there are now so many more countries competing in reining and the level of competition is extremely high now and so it’s fantastic to be part of this!”

- Francesca Sternberg

Eventing and jumping gold at home Pony Games.

Great Britain’s jumping eventing teams claimed Gold in front of an excited home crowd at Bishop Burton whilst three riders claimed additional individual honours. Saffie Osborne, on board Little Indian Feather, owned by Lord and Lady Blyth, rode a superb clear round on the final day of the eventing competition to secure an emotional Gold whilst her team mate, Daisy Proctor claimed Bronze with Hattie Lloyd Townsend’s Holiday Chase. In jumping, Claudia Moore came away with individual bronze with Katrina Moore’s Elando van de Roshoeve, and became the youngest Brit to win a Pony European Championship medal.

Charlotte Fry earns historic win

Charlotte Fry claimed a historic Individual Gold at the European U25 Championships in Belgium. Aboard her own and Anne Van Olst’s, Dark Legend, Charlotte posted an astonishing 82.14% in their Freestyle, finishing three percent clear on their nearest challengers. Just a day before, Charlotte claimed Individual Silver as well as a Team Bronze from the Grand Prix.

Ben Maher is crowned LGCT series winner

Ben Maher won the Longines Global Champions Tour series title after a dominant season on the tour claiming five Grand Prix wins with Explosion W and Winning Good, both owned by Poden Farms. Ben claimed the title in Rome and then capped off the season in style with his final win in Doha, on board the nine year-old Explosion W. He finished 43 points ahead of last year’s winner, Harrie Smolders.

An exciting future for dressage seniors

This year saw Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester return to the senior teams, two years after their success at the Olympic Games in Rio. Back with new, younger horses, the pair helped the team, also made up of Spencer Wilton and Emile Faurie, claim Bronze to secure Great Britain’s qualification for Tokyo 2020. In the Grand Prix special, Charlotte added her first individual medal with her new ride, Mount St John Freestyle, owned by the Mount St John Stud, who at 9 years-old impressed on the pair’s Championship debut.

More medals for Britain’s para-dressage team

It was another successful Championships for Great Britain’s para-dressage team as they claimed four medals to add to their never ending haul. Sophie Wells made it an unforgettable Championships as she won double Individual Gold with Charlotte Hogg’s C Fatal Attraction, taking her senior championship tally to 29 medals. Natasha Baker also claimed an individual medal as she took Silver with Mount St John Diva Dannebrog, owned by the Mount St John Stud, adding to the Team Silver medal won by her, Sophie, Erin Orford and Lee Pearson.

Eventing World Champions

Great Britain’s eventers went from European Champions to World Champions after an unforgettable few days in Tryon which also saw Ros Canter claim Individual Gold with her own and Caroline Moore’s Allstar B, becoming Britain’s first Individual Gold medallist since 2006. The team, made up of Ros, Piggy French, Tom McEwen and Gemma Tattersall, alongside Individual, Tina Cook, all put in extraordinary performances on cross-country day to leave themselves in prime position heading into the final round of showjumping. Ros jumped clear to claim the team title and then a pole down from Ingrid Klimke saw her crowned the World Champion as well.