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Saumur. A Happy Hunting Ground for British Riders

Saumur CDI proved a happy hunting ground for British riders with several new combinations finding their feet and more established riders stamping their authority on the proceedings.A 70.85% score from Fiona Bigwood (pictured) in the grand prix boosted an otherwise inexperienced senior team to clinch third for the Brits in the nations cup ahead of Germany. Bigwood from Horsham in West Sussex went on to take second in the grand prix special (71.17%) and third in the grand prix freestyle (72.55%) partnered with her 11 year old Wie Weltmeyer gelding Wie Atlantico. "We’ve been working hard all winter and I was hoping to do well but you can never be sure. I really feel as though we’ve turned a corner, it was a great show and we all left with smiles on our faces!"

Commenting on the other Brit’s performance Bigwood added "It was really nice for the team to take bronze; there were some competitive teams out there so I’m delighted. The rest of our team were out on up and coming grand prix horses which was lovely to see. They made a few mistakes and didn’t quite pick up the marks but there was a lot of quality out there."

Gemma Green with Showtime, Judy Harvey with Fitzceraldo and Anna Ross-Davies with Pegasus MK completed the team along with a new senior chef d’equipe Dicky Waygood who will work alongside team captain Richard Davison in preparation for the World Equestrian Games later this year.

Richard Davison commented: "This was an inexperienced team and with the exception of Fiona all the riders all came away feeling they could have gone better. It was a useful experience though as the riders learnt a great deal and each showed they have a lot more to come. All credit to Fiona who rode a very good test to pull GB into the third spot. They have built on the potential they showed last year to become a very exciting prospect ahead of Kentucky in September."

Meanwhile Davison was in action himself in the CDI3* event riding the Countess of Derby’s 11 year old Florestan gelding Hiscox Artemis. They improved on their third place in the grand prix to lift the grand prix freestyle in impressive style on 75.15% .

The result was all the more remarkable given the circumstances - the pair had to endure two false starts when, last to go, the heavens opened and drizzling rain suddenly turned to hail like bullets. Davison duly waited for a break in the weather and five minutes later was called back in to commence the test. This time a problem with the music caused a halt to proceedings and the pair was forced to restart for the third time, completing their test to cries of ‘Bravo!’ from the crowd.

"I had my back to the judge at C" explained Richard, "when suddenly all this shouting started and people were running for cover. It was a bit exciting but this was the class I really wanted to win. I’m very happy with Artemis, he coped so well with all the disruption and I’m glad he got to raise the flag for Great Britain on the final day."

Story from Horseytalk.net

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