“She is always a bit hot and insecure here and always feels distracted, but she was focussed today and stayed with me.”
Piggy French said of Vanir Kamira after her dressage test.
Wow, what a performance! On her twenty-fifth attempt, Piggy French finally landed that 5* victory that she has so long deserved, winning the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (2-5th May 2019).
Piggy’s ride was Trevor Dicken’s 14yr old mare, Vanir Kamira. A strong dressage score of 26.00 left Piggy in 4th going into the Cross Country. The pair have been consistent Cross Country at 5* level over the last couple of years and did not disappoint; a foot-perfect clear just two seconds outside of the time put her in second going into the final day’s showjumping, but still 7 penalties adrift of leader Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class.
“After I walked the course I thought that was it as that style of course really doesn’t suit her with several related distances. I could build the same course at home, jump it 50 times and we wouldn’t jump clear. She’s a pain 362 days of the year, but I love her to bits and she comes into form at these big ones.” said Piggy.
And Vanir Kamira, fondly known as Tilly-Bean, really did rise to the occasion being one of just eleven horses to go clear inside the time.
All that was left to do was to sit and wait while Oliver defended his lead, but a pole and 4 seconds on the time meant that he finished in second, just 0.3 penalties behind.
“I was completely stunned - I was watching his round thinking close but not quite again and then, when I saw the clock go red, I just could not believe that I’d won. It was an amazing moment and feeling after all the work that goes into getting yourself in that position.”
Australia’s Chris Burton was third riding Joe and Kate Walls’ hugely talented 11-year-old, Cooley Lands. They were the only pair to finish on their dressage score of 28.1, 1.3 penalties adrift of Piggy.
We couldn’t write a Badminton report without also mentioning Millie Dumas. Not a name you’re likely to know unless you are involved in Eventing, but Millie has quietly been earning herself a great reputation. Millie and her Badminton ride, Artistiek have represented team GB in the Nations Cup team events winning a team Gold and Silver, won a young rider European team Silver medal, been double clear at Blenheim and placed 4th at Bramham Under 25’s 4*L (formerly CCI 3*).
Millie completed a fantastic dressage test that put her in 7th, the best performance for a Badminton first timer to date.
“He doesn’t give you a huge amount of confidence at home as he’s so spooky, but he was with me the whole way in the ring today.” Millie Dumas
She intentionally set out for a careful Cross Country and completed it with absolute professionalism, a stunning round hampered only by time faults. Millie and ‘Artie’ finished in a very respectable 34th after a pole in the showjumping. What a fabulous first run!
'I am usually very sceptical about any additives as there are so many in the marketplace but I tried Nupafeed MAH Horse Calmer with two slightly tricky and sensitive Event horses. It made a considerable difference to their performance, particularly in the dressage phase as they were much less tense and calmer, enabling significantly better marks.'