Chatsworth 2012 | The Olympic Quest Continues

Mary King Winner of the HSBC FEI Classics Series 2011
Mary King & Imperial Cavalier On The ‘Badminton Bypass’ To Chatsworth

Over the coming few days we’ll learn more of the back-up plans for many riders for whom a main pre-Olympic run was brought to an abrupt halt by the cancellation of Badminton earlier this week. Statements of how little impact this has had, have been dotted around all over the news in the last few days, even though Badminton’s profile and position in the eventing calendar makes it a very useful event as a Key Performance Indicator in Olympic year, not to mention one of the best qualifying events to tackle for European based riders.

All that aside, many of the elite were already heading to the Peak District for Chatsworth Horse Trials and a slightly less demanding Olympic prep run to showcase their fitness and agility in what often provides one of the best indicators for competitive form.

Olympic medallist and course designer Ian Stark said: “This year’s course is being reversed in direction to give a more gentle introduction. It also means the horses will only have to climb the main hill once. It’s important that the horses have a confidence building run in preparation for London so the tougher combinations have been softened a little, although it is still very much a World Cup Class!”

Lucy Wiegersma & Simon Porloe 7th At Pau CCI**** 2011 | Entered For Chatsworth

William Fox-Pitt & Oslo | Winners At Pau CCI**** 2011

In addition to the CIC*** there is also a CIC***W class, the only UK round of the FEI World Cup™, and one that has a fist full of the very best horses in the world running. William Fox-Pitt takes two of his stars from last Autumn, Oslo & Lionheart, Mary King runs King’s Temptress & Imperial Cavalier, plus Andrew Nicholson has Nereo. These horses alone have all put their riders on the podium in a four star, and were all already on the “Badminton Bypass”. Add to this list Lucy Wiegersma with the wonderful Simon Porloe, Team GBR pathfinder – Opposition Buzz (Nicola Wilson), Olympic Test Event winner, DHI Topper W (Piggy French), and previous World Champion Zara Phillips with High Kingdom, and you have a “Champions of Champions” face-off.

Chatsworth is both a demanding CIC*** and a picturesque setting, probably more so than the ostentatious surroundings of Blenheim Palace, with breathtaking scenery, architecture, and the most amazing water feature.

With all this in store I think Chatsworth Horse Trials may become the cure for anyone’s Badminton blues, and those on their quest for a place in the line up at Greenwich for the London 2012 Olympics. It promises to be a corker!

Let’s hope the weather picks up.

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Amateur event rider, aspiring photographer. Technologist by day.


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