German riders were the clear winners in the team challenge at Houghton International horse trials over the weekend.
They topped the leader board in the British leg of the FEI Nations Cup with a score of 122.2 giving themselves a clear margin over the British quartet’s 142.5 penalties.
The United States team came home in third and New Zealand was well out of contention in fourth place with a score of 240.8.
Germany’s Bettina Hoy led the class from start to finish, going clear in the show jumping and across country, with her team-mate Julia Krajewski as runner-up and Andreas Ostholt close behind in fifth place.
Best of the British team members was Will Furlong, last year’s British under-21 champion, who was in individual fourth spot, Oliver Townend was seventh, Piggy French 11th and Georgie Strang 14th.
But it was Pippa Funnell, a favourite with the Norfolk supporters having trained here in her early career, who was riding as an individual and took the third spot with Billy the Wizz. Aside from his team horse, Oliver Townend filled sixth and eighth places with two more of his horses.
It was also a successful weekend for Norfolk-born Piggy French.
As well as her creditable performance in the Nations Cup she won the CCI two-star class.
This was her second international win since returning from time out to have a baby; and on the first day she won the one star section on a horse owned by Jennifer Saunders – a new French and Saunders partnership unfolding!
The trials, sponsored by Saracen Horse Feeds, took over the rolling parkland at Houghton for four days and in addition to the international classes, which brought the cream of event riders to West Norfolk, there was classes for potential young event horses, show jumping and team dressage classes, all attracting a number of local competitors, family activities and trade stands.
Event director Alec Lochore was delighted with the way the event had gone. “It has been a great weekend of sport, not just with the internation al classes but with all of the other equestrian classes that took place in the park, and not forgetting the camel racing in aid of East Anglian Air Ambulance.”