Horsham riders selected for equestrian Olympic squad for Rio

Gemma Tattersall has been selected for the Olympic equestrian team for the first time
Gemma Tattersall has been selected for the Olympic equestrian team for the first time

Two Horsham riders will make their Olympic debuts at Rio as part of Team GB’s equestrian squad.

Local pair Gemma Tattersall and Fiona Bigwood are amongst the 12 athletes that will compete across the three equestrian disciplines of eventing, dressage and jumping at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Fiona Bigwood and  Atterupgaards Orthilia. Photo: Rui Godinho SUS-150708-104300001

Fiona Bigwood and Atterupgaards Orthilia. Photo: Rui Godinho SUS-150708-104300001

Tattersall, 31, has made the eventing team for the very first time and will ride either Chico Bella P or Quicklook V.

While 2015 European team silver medallist Bigwood, 40, will compete in the dressage team on Atterupgaards Orthilia.

Equestrian team leader Dan Hughes said: “The team we have selected represents the strength in depth of talent we are lucky enough to enjoy in equestrian sport in the UK, and the mix of both experience and new talent across the three equestrian events in Rio.

“None of this would be possible without the support of National Lottery funding via UK Sport. Five of our twelve riders will be competing at an Olympic Games for the first time, whilst some will be competing at their 5th, 6th and even 7th Olympic Games.

“There is a robust team spirit amongst our athletes, staff, grooms and our all-important owners that underpins the strongest desire to win medals in Rio. As a team we go there with that single focus.”

Three-time Olympic medallist William Fox-Pitt with Chilli Morning leads in the eventing team along with Kitty King riding Ceylor L A N and Izzy Taylor on Allercombe Ellie.

In the dressage team, reigning World, European and Olympic Champion Charlotte Dujardin will compete on Valegro joined by fellow 2012 Olympic team gold medallist Carl Hester with Nip Tuck and debutant Spencer Wilton on Super Nova II.

There is also plenty of Olympic Games pedigree in the jumping team, with London 2012 gold medallists Nick Skelton and Ben Maher returning on Big Star and Tic Tac respectively – Rio 2016 being Skelton’s seventh Games, and his second on Big Star.

Los Angeles 1984 jumping team silver medallist John Whitaker, who’s set to feature in his sixth Olympic Games, will compete on Ornellaia while younger brother Michael, who heads to his fifth Olympic Games – who also won silver at LA 1984 – will compete aboard Cassionato.

Team GB’s Chef de Mission, Mark England, said: “No sport can boast Olympic experiences quite like our equestrian team and it’s of great credit to both the riders and the programme that we welcome athletes back for their fifth, sixth or even seventh Games as part of Team GB.

!This is vital in a multi-sport environment and our recent Olympic record is testament to this.

“There is strength across all three disciplines and I’m sure the country can look forward to seeing the team perform at the top of their game once again this August.”

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