Horse & Hound kindly commissioned me to photograph the Chedington Bicton Park 5* Horse Trials for them, something I was very honoured to do.
The Bicton Arena horse trials were arranged in a very short period of time as a replacement for the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, which were cancelled for 2021 due to the uncertainties of COVID.
With only 32 starters it was a relief when the first horse inspection passed without incident or even a horse being held.
Pippa Funnell had led after the dressage phase after a superb test on BILLY WALK ON which landed them a 23.9. Piggy March and VANIR KAMIRA lay in second with 25.5, a mere tenth of a point ahead of Will Rawlin and V.I.P. Vinnie on their debut at the top level.
Saturday morning dawned with superb weather and a course which had been watered constantly over the days running up to the event starting. Having seen the 4* course built to replace Bramham in June, we knew that cross country would be very influential. The Mark Phillips-designed course made good use of the South Devon hills and only three riders managed to complete it in the time allowed, namely Oliver Townend with TREGILDER, Piggy March and VANIR KAMIRA and Gemma Tattersall and CHILLI KNIGHT. Twelve combinations did not make it round.
Again, Sunday morning's horse inspection took place without incident and all the remaining horse and rider combinations went forward for the final show jumping phase. First to jump was Angus Smales and ESI PHEONIX who jumped a brilliant clear round, but this was not to be a straightforward. Plenty of poles were dropped and places changed significantly as only five of the remaining 17 combinations jumped clear.
Gemma Tattersall was a popular winner, having completed the competition on her dressage score. Piggy March, leading after the cross country phase, had two show jump poles down to drop her into third overall. Pippa Funnell moved up into second to create an all-British, all-female podium for the first time in many years.
Full Results can be found here: Chedington Bicton Park 5* Horse Trials 2021.