Local riders travel to Scotland for the penultimate round of the new Event Rider Masters competition
Australian eventer Paul Tapner, who is based at Wickstead Farm Equestrian Centre in Highworth, leads Event Rider Masters - the new high value, high visibility eventing competition - as it moves to Blair Castle in Perthshire this weekend (27 & 28 August) for its last but one round.
The ultimate winner of the inaugural season of the Event Rider Masters (ERM) will take home a £30,000 prize in addition to the substantial prize for each round.
Tapner was second in the Barbury ERM round and has finished no lower than twelfth place in the four rounds completed so far. He has a commanding lead with 87 points. He took the lead from Gemma Tattersall who missed the Gatcombe round as she was with the British team in Rio.
Tapner will be riding the grey Kilronan - and this may be their last competition together: "I’m hoping the softer ground and galloping course at Blair will suit Kilronan. He is returning to his roots as he started competing in Scotland for what might be his final competition."
"He has been such a wonderful horse and I hope the weekend is a success for him and I am also able to hold onto the lead in the Event Rider Masters”.
Other local riders will be competing after their return from the Rio Olympics. These include Marlborough-based Jock Paget, who suffered the ill-fortune of having to be replaced in the New Zealand team after his horse was injured at his Rio stable. He will be riding Angus Blue.
Leaving their Mildenhall base for Scotland will be New Zealand Olympic team members Tim Price (with Xavier Faer - a ten-year-old known in the yard as Hugo) and Jonelle Price (with Cloud Dancer - a nine-year-old known as Marley and a dressage specialist.) Jonelle is currently in fifth place - and took third place in the Bramham ERM round.
New for 2016, the Event Rider Masters is being run over six CIC three star eventing competitions held at venues across Great Britain with a total of £350,000 in prize money on offer during the series - including that £30,000 bonus for the series' leading rider.
This year's ERM finale will be held at the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials on September 10 & 11.
This weekend’s ERM competition can be viewed for free live on Saturday (dressage) and Sunday when the competition culminates with the show jumping and cross-country phases ran in reverse order. The ERM's free streaming can be viewed online from anywhere in the world.