The eventing season has come to a close for WOW’s sponsored event riders, and Francis Whittington has wasted no time whisking the family away on holiday! He does have another good reason; because of his teaching commitments in the USA and back here in England, he might not get another chance to spend time away with his loved ones.
Kitty King is winding things down a little at home, and tells us she’s ‘thinking about a holiday’, but Paul Tapner has competed up to the very last second, taking Indian Mill to the 4-star Etoiles de Pau in France. This was only the horse’s second attempt at the level, and it all went very well until an unfortunate show jumping round dropped them out of the top ten.
Although the eventers won’t now be competing for some months, do keep looking out for winter time tips and training hints from them on our social pages. (You can also enter a contest to win a lesson with Kitty King, pictured, in the current issue of Your Horse magazine.)
Burghley Horse Trials was another successful showcase for some of WOW’s eventing ambassadors. Both Paul Tapner and Francis Whittington had two horses entered at the event, one of only six 4* rated horse trials in the world. Paul was riding his experienced horse Kilronan, and a newcomer to the level, Vanir Kamira. Francis was in a similar position, with his two horses Hasty Imp (completed Burghley in 2014) and Fernhill Highlight. Paul’s horses did better in the dressage phase, both making it into the top 15 for that phase. Francis did not fare so well there, and decided to withdraw Fernhill Highlight and take that horse to Blenheim instead, where he would be more competitive. The Burghley cross country course was very big, but it held no fears for Kilronan who was smoothly efficient, but Vanir Kamira showed her lesser experience when running out at the extremely angled hedges in Discovery Valley. Francis had the benefit of being able to watch most of the other rounds, as he was second-till last on track with Hasty Imp, but he still had to survive a lucky moment at the Trout Hatchery when climbing over the last part!
Neither Kilronan or Hasty Imp excelled themselves in the showjumping, but Vanir Kamira made up for her cross country error with a clean sheet in the final phase. “Yes I was disappointed with the show jumping on Kilronan, but at least he is consistent, 13th place in all three of his FEI competitions this year” tweeted Paul good humouredly, who now has a slightly less pressured week before Blenheim.
Germany’s Michael Jung and his superstar partner, La Biosthetique Sam FBW, took the Land Rover Burghley title, a proud victory, having uncharacteristically fallen from his other ride, Fischerrocana FST, on the cross-country course at the event. Well done to all competitors!
(Incidentally, WOW had a great time at Burghley on our stand – thanks to everyone who came to say hello! We hope to see fellow eventing fans at Blair).
Francis Whittington now heads north to Blair Castle, where he will join up with fellow WOW sponsored rider Kitty Boggis for the European Championships. Fingers crossed our British riders come home with a medal!
August began with the exciting news that Paul Tapner has become the latest WOW sponsored rider to be selected to ride for his country. He will be taking Indian Mill to Aachen, Germany for the Nations Cup of Eventing in two weeks. Currently third in the overall standings, he will be joined by Chris Burton, Kevin Mcnab and Andrew Hoy for the latest leg in the series. Paul should be ready for the challenge, having just returned from a family holiday in Italy. He was quickly back in the saddle with an admirable eighth placing at the recent Festival of Eventing at Gatcombe Park in the Open class, riding Vanir Kamira.
Meanwhile, WOW sponsored rider Francis Whittington took some novice horses to Little Downham near Ely in Cambridgeshire and scooped a handful of prizes, including a win on Easy Done. Fellow WOW rider Kitty King on the other hand, after an exciting time at Aston Le Walls last week, took a weekend off from eventing, and instead supported the International Helmet Awareness Day. All riders should bear in mind that the British Eventing rules for helmets will be changing in 2016, so don’t be caught out!
Team WOW’s event riders were out in force at Aston Le Walls last weekend, despite the inclement weather. Kitty King was in flying form, winning a Advanced section on her European Championship selected Persimmon, and being placed in another on Mo Cuiske, who was competing in his first class at the level. He will be aimed at the 8 Yr Old section at Blenheim.
Paul Taoner was not going to run his mount Kilronan across country at all because of the previously hard ground, but the torrential overnight downpour ensured a quick change of plan. “The ground ended up perfect, and so I decided I had better get on with it. And I am going to Italy for a week’s holiday tomorrow where it is currently 30 degrees, so all in all, I am super happy it is raining in England!” he told us. His ride Kilronan performed a smooth double clear to finish 12th.
Francis Whittington, birthday boy on July 27th, got his celebrations off to a fine start with eight rides of varying levels at Aston, and seven clear rounds cross country. As Francis is the seventh son of a seventh son, this was a fairly magical achievement, despite his acknowledged advancing years!
“This is my eleventh Badminton, so it is about time I went first!” First drawn Paul Tapner tells us how it is…
Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials launches on Tuesday 5th May with the Grassroots event. Wednesday 6th May sees the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse Class and the first Horse Inspection for the main event – Thursday 7th May and Friday 8th May are dressage days, with Saturday 9th May seeing XC day, and Sunday 10th May concluding with the show jumping and presentations.
WOW Saddles is proud to be sponsors of some elite riders contesting the trophy this year – we speak to Paul Tapner about his plans:
Paul Tapner is a veteran of ten Badmintons already; 2015 will be his eleventh, and he has got one victory to his name already, winning in 2010 on Inonothing. He is drawn first to go on Kilronan, his WEG mount, who was leading at Badminton last year until he rolled a pole in the final phase. “This is my eleventh Badminton, so it is about time I went first! Kilronan has plenty of experience, and he will get the best of the ground. Also, because he did so well last year, he will probably not be disadvantaged by being first in the dressage, where sometimes you can be a victim of the judges being cautious,” Paul explains. In complete contrast to Kilronan, Paul’s other ride Indian Mill, is starting at his four star. “I would have liked the [new] course to be as it was last year for him; he is a great horse cross country, but it looks to me like the course has been ‘softened’ from 2014, which is a pity. In fact, I think that [course designer] Guiseppe (de la Chiesa) has been really unimaginative with his changes. Mostly, he has just reversed the course without changing the fences much. Of course, I might be eating my words on Saturday night,” laughed Paul. Indian Mill has plenty of good 3* form, including 3rd at Blenheim and 4th at Gatcombe, both, as it happens behind fellow WOW representative, Francis Whittington!
Within the eventing sphere especially, some riders are looking to their saddles to express their fashion sense, or coordinate their cross country colours. The leatherwork of all WOW saddles may be customised in the rider’s or sponsor’s colours; two-tone coloured leather is popular. Eventer Paul Tapner may currently be seen competing in a beautiful red and black XC saddle with fixed long blocks that give increased support for the leg. He also sports a more neutral Havana brown and maroon version of the saddle.
Leading saddle manufacturer First Thought Equine now offers a personalisation service on all new saddles.
The leatherwork of all saddles may also be customised in the rider’s or sponsor’s colours; two-tone leather is popular, for example. Eventer Paul Tapner recently commissioned a striking red and black saddle in his country colours.
Key features of WOW Saddles:
• The only longitudinally rigid, but laterally flexible tree – offers greater shoulder freedom
• Large bearing surface
• The widest range of interchangeable width fittings: XN-8X
• Features Flair air bag flocking; a flexible, gaseous bearing surface that increases pressure distribution over the horse’s back & provides shock absorption.
Call (44) 1227 831614 for stockists or visit www.wowsaddles.com.
Australian Saddle fitter Julia McLean shared the below story with us, which we thought you may like to see – you can read more about this story at Nadia David’s blog –
The saddling breakthrough
So, this may well end up reading like an ad for WOW saddles, but after today I thought it would be nice to show the changes in [my horse] Assegai over the past three years. The WOW dressage saddle I bought two years ago has contributed in no small part to these changes, and are worth revisiting.
When I got Assegai, he looked like this, a green broken 3 year old:
As you can see, he’s low on muscle and has obvious deep wither pockets and no topline. He became increasingly aggressive over the first twelve months, a combination of pain caused by an ill-fitting saddle, chronic pain from injuries in the paddock before I got him and a sensitive soul. At least, that’s my reading of the situation.
Age, work and a fair layer of fat have made him look like this:
The WOW saddle, and a beautifully fitting Pessoa jump saddle (couldn’t afford two WOW saddles!) have made a huge difference to Assegai’s topline, contentedness and in some way to his development and training. From the first fitting, Assegai started lifting more through his back, going forward more willingly, just trying more.
It has been frustrating – Assegai has got to be the touchiest horse going – but today was breakthrough day. As Assegai has changed shape, grown bigger and stronger, he’s needed [saddle] re-fit after re-fit, as I posted about earlier. Today, [my saddle fitter] Julia brought her A game.
Two things have made a massive difference. The first was a slight change in panels. The old panels had a gap at the top, the part that forms the channel of the saddle. And this is supposed to allow more room for the musculature to move under the saddle. But for Assegai this appears to have been uncomfortable, as then Julia fitted panels that formed a snugger fit in his wither pockets. Because the pommel articulates, the panels should fit quite closely.
The second change is the purchase of one of the H-girths from the WOW range.
I think this has been the greatest change to date. The girth is made of two narrow padded leather straps connected on the sternum by a connector strap. The idea, from memory, is that the girth sits either side of the pectoral muscle, preventing pinching and discomfort and allowing the horse to use those muscles.
As soon as we started walking, Assegai wanted to stretch out and down, but not drop his back like usual….he went forward into trot without raising his head, happily blowing and staying on the bit. It felt amazing. He even pulled a pretty hot medium trot out of the bag!
So, I actually feel a bit excited. I’ve got an Official dressage comp coming up in a few weeks so I’m really interested to see what he can do. Gotta say, the WOW is probably the best investment I’ve made in my riding. Starting to save up for one for Rose. 🙂 Happy riding!
This year has seen some of our most celebrated equestrian events cancelled due to the typical British weather, but despite a bit of rain in the morning, Barbury Castle was in full flow with the sun shining.
The CIC2* sections were a favourite for many spectators and the focus of the day. There have been some recent changes to the course, but it remains one of the bigger CIC2* tracks of the eventing calendar.
Kitty King at Salperton
We were extremely pleased to see our sponsored rider, Kitty King win section Section B on her horse Persimmon. Together they only added 6 time penalties to their dressage score after also jumping clear in the showjumping.
Paul Tapner came second in section B on his horse Indian Mill.
Barbury Castle had a bit of light relief on offer (no one took it that seriously of course!) They had the Hit Air Rodeo Bull Eventers vs Jockeys challenge. Our very own Paul Tapner managed to stay on ‘Billy the Bull’ for a very impressive 59 seconds!