The first 5* in two years – Chedington Equestrian Bicton 5*

September 9th, 2021 by Leah Grange
Timer 3 minute read

Last weekend saw the first FIVE STAR event in the UK since September 2019, 5* came to the South West and as a fully fledged resident of Somerset now I of course couldn’t miss it. The team at Bicton Arena had exactly 11 weeks to put together this wonderful event, a one off? I hope not.

In the run up to Bicton the field of competitors seemed to be dwindling, for one reason or another it was a smaller field than other 5* event. I don’t need to explain the pandemic to anyone but so few horses have managed any runs at all. A 5* track would be a big ask for any combination. They did not disappoint.

Dressage Day

One thing I never realised is how close I live to Bicton park, being a Somerset newbie I never know my bearings. So after a little hours drive i arrived up the long driveways edged with sponsors banners. This felt big.
Now me being me, I forgot my camera, ran late, did my make-up int the car but I made it and met up with the lovely Faith from (@thetekodiaries on Instagram). A quick stop at the coffee and donut stand and we settled ourselves on the bank next to the arena for pony dancing.

The dressage was intimate. Thats how I can describe it. You were up close to the action, feeling the tension, every emotion. when you cheered and clapped the riders looked you in the eyes and gave you a wave. It was wonderful. It left some of my fave riders close to the top of the board. I went home ridiculously excited for Cross Country day.

Day Two-XC

Saturday was all about the cross country, I forced my non horsey boyfriend out of bed early to head back down to Bicton. We arrived three hours before the XC started, plenty of time for coffee, breakfast and snacks the essentials. The sun shone, the crowds started to arrive and Bicton was starting to get the 5* buzz. The course was testing, the terrain was hilly and Captain Mark Phillips had built a TRUE 5* course. The Ariat challenge, The Burghley brushes and coming into the arena TWICE had huge questions. With the first two combinations not completing (one being olympic gold medalist fresh from Tokyo). You just knew that this course was going to give all the trills and spills you expect.

David Doel’s Galileo Nieumoed being cooled in the water after the petrol tank emptied.

Then the clears started coming, the first timers, the big guns and everyone in between. Some riders made it look effortless with some others making it happen through hell or high water.

After a thrilling day the top three stood as an ALL GIRL top three. Piggy March, Gemma Tattersall and Pippa Funnell were our top three going into showjumping. at the press conference that afternoon the ladies talked about how they rode the terrain. All in agreement that they didn’t push their horses up the hills. They all said that from their experiences horses get disheartened when you chase them up the hills. Allowing the horses to get up in their own pace then catch up on the flatter or downhill parts of the track was how they made the time.

Gemma Tattersall, Piggy March, Pippa Funnel at press conference.

That press conference brought me to the end of my Bicton experience for 2021. Hey you never know what the future holds hopefully another 5* at Bicton? we can only hope. The team at Bicton did amazing things to make this happen. I think I can speak for everyone spectators, press, riders, grooms that Bicton have given us all a bit of hope for 2022 after a horrible two years.

Thank you for Reading, enjoy some pictures.
Love always Leah and Colsie x

Bicton 5* winner Gemma Tattersall and Chilli Knight

Arena Entrance
Francis Whittington
Pippa Funnel
Piggy March – Vanir Kamir

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *