YORKSHIRE riders Nicola Wilson, Oliver Townend and Gary Parsonage experienced wildly differing fortunes and emotions during the weekend’s CCI four-star Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
There was elation for Northallerton’s Wilson, who had two horses in the top 20 with One Two Many climbing the leaderboard to finish unexpectedly high in seventh after a magnificent clear in the showjumping. Beltane Queen also finished a promising 19th.
Huddersfield rider Townend was left to reflect on what might have been on Armada after a fine dressage test and cross-country phase left him challenging for a second Badminton title, only for it to be undone by an error-strewn showjumping phase that saw him tumble to 11th.
There was also frustration for Beverley’s Parsonage, who was enjoying a trouble-free cross-country phase on 14-year-old gelding Sligo Luckyvalier until he received a soaking and elimination following a fall in the lake.
Victory, and with it a cheque for £80,000, went to world No 2 William Fox-Pitt on three-time Bramham winner Chilli Morning, who became the first British winner of the event since Townend savoured victory on Flint Curtis in 2009.
Six years later, Wilson was the Yorkshire rider with most to celebrate with One Two Many eclipsing his more experienced stable mate to finish seventh after a brilliant showjumping round – one of seven clears which hoisted her from 18th to bag a cheque for £15,000.
“I am delighted, over the moon,” said Wilson, whose 13-year-old gelding is Yorkshire born, bred and ridden and owned by Gerry and Mary Kemp, and Janine Shewan.
“It has been a phenomenal week when you bear in mind he only did his first four-star event last year at Pau where he finished eighth.
“This was his first British four-star and he is a super horse. He came here in excellent form and had a fantastic week doing well in all three phases. I was delighted with his cross-country and he is a lovely showjumper. I was also pleased with the dressage, although there is more to come with that.”
Wilson’s Beltane Queen is also Yorkshire born, bred and ridden with the 11-year-old mare owned by Ann and Valerie Robson.
But Yorkshire’s leading rider and world No 5 Townend eventually had to settle for 11th on 16-year-old chestnut gelding Armada.
Third approaching the final day, Townend had four fences down in Sunday’s showjumping finale, including two of the first three.
“If he could showjump, he would be unbeatable and we wouldn’t be with him,” admitted Townend.
“That’s why I got to ride Armada.
“It was not as good as I wanted, but we were still here and completed Badminton.”