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). And we’re delighted that two of our talented Toggi and Champion brand ambassadors have made the cut – well done Pippa and Kitty!
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 four of 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 own Sandman 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 Nevo 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
All riders compete as individuals at the Championships; four riders will be announced before the start of the competition to contest the team event.
What Pippa and Kitty say on their selection:
Pippa Funnell (Surrey): “Surprised, delighted and excited. It is such a thrill to receive that phone call and once again a huge honour to be selected. Every championships is always special; it’s great that we have so many good riders and combinations coming through – that’s what will be exciting for the home crowd this year, anyone of them is capable of making the podium.”
“It makes it extra special to be selected on Sandman 7 as he is jointly owned by two people who are so special to me, my Mother, Jenny Nolan, and Ruth McMullen. Mum and I bought Sandman as a six year old and decided to give Ruth a share for her 80th Birthday present as she has been so instrumental throughout my career. They are both thrilled with the news and we are all looking forward to September.”
Kitty King (Wiltshire): “I’m absolutely over the moon, he [Persimmon] has had really consistent results at 3* so really hoped that we would get the call. I’m so happy for the horse, owners and everyone who has been so supportive.
“My last home Championships was at Blenheim  and even though it didn’t go to plan it was brilliant riding in front of a home crowd and I know the atmosphere being at home this time will be amazing!
“I felt that being part of the World Class Programme has really helped our performance, having all of that support there, especially for the owners and it is great to have all of the training there. I was on Development [now known as Podium Potential] and it was a real boost to get put on the Performance Programme [now known as Podium], it’s a really great programme to be part of.
“I just want to thank all of my owners, sponsors and support team for all they’ve done and for getting me this far, I’ve been very lucky. I’m really looking forward to getting up there and seeing what Ian [Stark] has done with the track!”
Also entered as reserves:
- Charlotte Agnew with Mrs Elizabeth Agnew’s Out of Africa Two
- Sarah Bullimore with Mr Chris Gillespie and Mr Brett Bullimore’s Reve du Rouet
- Nana Dalton with Miss Emily Roser’s Abbeylara Prince
- Millie Dumas with Mrs Susan Larson and Millie’s Artistiek
- Dani Evans with Mrs Vanessa Watson’s Raphael II
- Piggy French with Ms Jayne McGivern’s Seapatrick Dark Cruise
- Pippa Funnell with Roger and Denise Lincoln’s Redesigned
- Louise Harwood with Mr Roy Baker and Emma Baker-Jones’s Whitson
- Louisa Milne-Home with her own King Eider
- Emily Llewellyn with Mrs Cindy Llewellyn and Mrs Nicolette Gidley Wright’s Greenlawn Sky High
- Willa Newton with Mr Joey Newton’s Newmarket Vasco One
- Georgie Strang with Mrs Jenny Newton’s Cooley Business Time
- Oliver Townend with Mr Paul Ridgeon and Mrs Diana Ridgeon Armada
- Francis Whittington with Mrs Catherine Witt’s Fernhill Highlight
- Nicola Wilson with Mrs Valerie Robson and Mrs Ann Robson’s Beltane Queen