Young Will Rawlin Snatches Lead at SsangYong Blenheim Palace

Will Rawlin (GBR) and V.I.P Vinnie - CCI-L4* - The SsangYong Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials 2019. Image credit Adam Fanthorpe

Young British rider Will Rawlin is in the lead in the principal CCI4*-L class after the first day of dressage at SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials. Riding 11-year-old VIP Vinnie, owned by his parents Miranda and Andrew, the Hungerford-based 25-year-old scored an excellent 24.2 in the highly competitive class.

Will said:

“He’s been going really well, and I felt confident coming into this, but in the warm-up he got tense, and when he gets tense, it’s quite difficult actually to ride him forward and get him going. A couple of times in there I was like, ‘oh God, oh God, keep going!’ – but he kept a nice outline and a good rhythm, and he was with me most of the way.

“Although it’s a very strong field, and full of very good riders, I did feel confident coming in in my ability and my horse’s ability. This year we’ve had a couple of silly blips – and actually, the last time I rode him, I fell off, but it was all me!

“I know if I stick to my plan and ride him properly then we should be home safely.”

Will led after cross-country in the under-25 CCI4*-L at Bramham in June, but had a fence down in the showjumping to finish third.

Will Rawlin (GBR) and V.I.P Vinnie - CCI-L4* - The SsangYong Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials 2019. Image credit Adam Fanthorpe
FEATURE IMAGE: Will Rawlin (GBR) and V.I.P Vinnie – CCI-L4* – The SsangYong Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials 2019. Image credit Adam Fanthorpe

Piggy French, fresh from her silver team medal at the recent European Championships, rode Alison Swinburn and John and Chloe Perry’s Brookfield Inocent into second place with a score of 25.4.

Third is Australia’s Kevin McNab with 25.7 aboard new ride Scuderia 1918 A Best Friend.

It was a good day for Piggy French, who also tops the CCI4*-S for eight- and nine-year-old horses – Britain’s most prestigious young horse class. She scored 26.7 with Jayne McGivern’s Calling Card, a nine-year-old by Caretino.

Piggy said:

He’s a really beautiful horse – he’s stunning. Bar his changes, which he’s still a bit green at, he’s very impressive on the flat. He was beautiful to ride in there. He is green – this will be his first Advanced competition – and so I’ve come into it just really interested to see how he goes, and not really thinking that running flat out and getting the time will be what he’ll do this weekend. It’s more about the stepping-stone.”

Sam Griffiths took second place for Australia with Viscount and Lady Rothermere’s Freestyler with a mark of 28.8.

“Lady Rothermere bought him for herself to ride, and wanted a bit more mileage on him, so I’ve been riding him for about a year now,” said Sam. “He’s a really good jumper and a nice horse to have.

“This class is like an unofficial championship – if you have a horse who goes well here, you know you’ve got a good one.”

Mary King is in third with her own and The Kings Group’s King Robert II on 29.6.

The team from Cropthorne and Evesham Riding Club were the delighted winners of the Dodson & Horrell 100cm Riding Club Team Eventer Challenge.

Tracey Paxton (Kiwi), Yvonne Goss (Untilla Legend), Sarah Morrison (Hoos Dougie) and Vee Roberts (Placenzajmen) beat Rother Valley Riding Club into second place, with Houghton and Huntingdon Riding Club third.

Buckingham Riding Club’s Jo Hales was the winner of the Dodson & Horrell Riding Club Individual 100cm Arena Eventing Challenge, riding her nine-year-old homebred grey mare Worthy Illusion.

SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials continues tomorrow (Friday, 20 September) with the second day of dressage. There are also Dodson & Horrell Eventer Challenge classes for Pony Club teams and individuals, and the second day of the KBIS RoR dressage championships.

As well as the feature CCI4* classes and a host of competitions for amateur riders, SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials features excellent, carefully selected, shopping opportunities. There is a full and varied programme in the Attractions Arena on Saturday and Sunday, superb children’s entertainment and great food, ranging from outlets offering locally produced to a range of dining packages. Visit to book tickets and for further information.

For interviews with many of the leading riders at SsangYong Blenheim Palace, visit

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