British eventing squad announced for WEG

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The British eventing team for the World Equestrian Games (WEG) has just been announced – with a few popular faces making a comeback.

Work to do

William Fox-Pitt, Tina Cook and Izzy Taylor, who all rode at the European Championships last year, have been re-selected. Joining them are Pippa Funnell, Oliver Townend and Zara Phillips – who came back to competition in April after having her first child.

“It’s fantastic to be part of a team again,” said Zara. “We’ve got a bit of work still to do to get back to where we were last year, but we have a few more outings to make sure we are right on target with our preparation.”

Nice surprise

The last time Oliver competed at WEG he was just 23 years old. Eight years on, he says it was a “really nice surprise” to hear he been called up for the team.

“We went to Luhmühlen for his [Black Tie] first CCI4* last weekend without any real expectations, yet he exceeded anything we could have hoped for him and more,” said Oliver, who came fourth at the event in Germany.

Extra special

Pippa, who missed out on the 2012 Olympics due to two of her top horses being injured, is “delighted to be joining my old team mates”.She will be riding a homebred horse – the first of the Billy Stud horses to be selected for the British senior squad in eventing.

“This horse is extra special to me as our good friend Bridget Stack, who sadly passed away a few years ago, named him ‘Gorgeous’ when he was three,” said Pippa.

“She said he would be very special which he is, so I always smile to myself when he has a good result, she was so right in her predictions.”

Right squad

“As always it’s a very exciting time once the squad has been selected for a championships,” said Yogi Breisner, eventing chef d’equipe. “The main aim this year is Olympic qualification, whilst being as competitive as possible – I think we have the right squad to achieve that.”

The WEG eventing (28-31 August) sees all riders compete as individuals, with the four team members announced after the first trot-up at Normandy.

The team

Tina Cook (43) with Mr Jim Chromiak and her own De Novo News

William Fox-Pitt (45) with Mr Christopher Stones’ Chilli Morning

Pippa Funnell MBE (45) with Mr Jonathan and Mrs Jane Clarke’s Billy Beware

Zara Phillips MBE (33) with Gleadhill House Stud Ltd’s High Kingdom

Izzy Taylor (31) with Ms Frances Carter and Miss Susan Holroyd’s Allercombe Ellie

Oliver Townend (31) with Miss Karyn Shuter’s Black Tie II

Catch squad member Oliver Townend in brand new Yard Talk/Masterclass on Horse & Country, from Monday 23 June at 9pm and repeated at the following times.