Cooley Horses Reign at Blenheim Palace International

Izzy Taylor wins the last leg of the 2017 ERM riding Be Touchable

Cooley Horses Reign at Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials

Reported by Amy Powell

It’s been an action-packed week at the SsangYong Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials 2017, with both the CCI*** and CIC***8/9 Year Old classes along with the final leg of the Event Rider Masters taking place.

CCI*** Results – Kim Returns to win After 16 Years

In a strong CCI*** section, it was America’s darling, Kim Severson, who took the red rosette a whole 16 years after last riding here.

Lying in third after dressage and maintaining her place after cross country, coming into the final day of show jumping Kim produced the ninth clear round of the day on the extremely classy 10 year old Irish Sports Horse, Cooley Cross Border.

Having travelled over to Ireland to compete at Tattersalls, the gelding then stayed at Cooley Farm and was kept fit for Kim, who flew over to Europe six times to compete this season.


“It was so good for me to come here not thinking about what jumps were going to be at which courses coming up,” she said of the unusual method of competing. “It was a bit more like show up and jump what you see which has always been my best thing, and I think coming here really helped me get back to where I was in the past in terms of getting the job done.”

Climbing up the ranks from ninth after dressage to fourth following the cross country, Laura Collett and Mr Bass produced a clear round under pressure ahead of Kim to take second place overall.

“I’m really emotional for a lot of reasons but I’m so proud of him, I’ve had him since he was a baby and he’s just so unbelievable.” She said of the nine hear old Holsteiner. “He’s always been a horse I believed in and he’s still only nine years old but finally this week he managed to put everything together. He’s nowhere near the finished article by far, which is really exciting at this stage.”

Lying in the lead overnight, ready for following day’s show jumping was Germany’s Julia Krajewski, riding Chipmunk FRH. The extremely smart nine year old Hanoverian seemed on top form, but unfortunately had two poles down – including the last, to drop down the order to third.

“I’m thrilled with how he’s performed this week though, and to still be third at his first CCI*** is amazing” remarked Julia.


CIC*** Results – Fastest Man in Eventing Takes the Title

Producing the only clear round inside the time, Australia’s Christopher Burton took the win in the 8 & 9 year old CIC*** section with another Cooley horse – Cooley Lands, and if previous statistics are anything to go by, this 8 year old gelding is set for promising things at 4* level.

“He is amazing, easy to ride, very clever and he wants to do it so we’re absolutely delighted,” Chris said of the Irish Sports Horse. “Some 8 & 9 year olds coming here for the first time take a look, but he was so brave and just acted like he’s done it 100 times before.”

The 16.3hh gelding has been predominately competed by owner, Kate Wells. Historically, Chris has enjoyed the ride of the horse on a number of occasions throughout 2015, and has now announced he plans to pilot the horse at 3* level and beyond. “I’ve been pining over him, wishing for him to come back and luckily Kate said she didn’t want to ride him 3* star so could I have him back and I’m very happy.” Chris said, “we’re preparing him for Boekelo, and then we will see how he recovers and think about what we do next year.”

Event Rider Masters 2017 –  Queen Tattersall is Crowned

The final leg of the Event Rider Masters (ERM) for 2017 resulted in a first win for British rider, Izzy Taylor on board the super talented Be Touchable.

Celebrations on the podium as the 2017 ERM series comes to a close
Celebrations on the podium as the 2017 ERM series comes to a close. Image credit Event Rider Masters

“He’s one of those horses that has to be concentrating absolutely every second of the way and if he’s not you have to be.” Izzy said of the 11 year old Dutch Warmblood, “I’d heard I had 17 seconds in hand between fence four and five but I couldn’t risk taking the pressure off him.”

The culmination of the series at Blenheim Palace saw Great Britain’s woman of the moment, Gemma Tattersall take the overall ERM 2017 champion’s title having competed at six of the seven legs, on four different horses and winning two of the legs this year.


Gemma Tattersall was crowned the overall 2017 ERM title. Image credit Event Rider Masters
Gemma Tattersall was crowned the overall 2017 ERM title. Image credit Event Rider Masters

“I actually really enjoy the pressure that the ERM puts on, I just absolutely loved it and embraced it this year and really aimed my horses to come to ERM,” Gemma said of her series win.

Having won £81,000 of prize money in total over the 2017 series, Gemma is working hard to see the fruits of her labour, “I split the prize money 50/50 with my owners and I’ve had some good results at 4* level this year too, so every single bit of money I’ve tried to put away and I’m really hoping that that’s going to end up as bricks and morter,” she smiled.

Parting thoughts

Well it’s been a quiet by eventful year for me (excuse the pun!) but Blenheim was the last event I go to for this year’s season, and I now have a nice break before bringing you all the news at Olympia Horse Show this December. It’s been a pleasure as always, and I’ll start counting down the days until Badminton 2018…how may sleeps is that?!

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