Nunney Horse Trials hit by tragedy

PUBLISHED: 23:21 16 June 2014 | UPDATED: 10:45 19 June 2014

Nobody thought Nunney International Horse Trials’ third day of competition would be easy following the tragic death of Canadian event rider Jordan McDonald on Saturday and it was with mixed emotions that Kitty King accepted her trophy having won the CIC2* riding Ceylor L A N, writes Lucy Johnson.

The Wiltshire-based rider said: “It is good to have won but it feels strange with what has happened yesterday in eventing. It has made me feel so subdued about it all and it does put it all in perspective. It is difficult to feel thrilled with a win in circumstances like this.”

Jordan, 30, died as a result of injuries sustained from the fall and the initial report indicates that the horse may have left a leg at the fence; a thorough investigation is currently underway. The fence, which was a log fence, was the first part of a combination which has been jumped hundreds of times over the past three years in courses at both Pony Club and BE Affiliated one day events.

Saturday’s competition was cancelled, with Sunday’s running as timetabled following extensive consultation. Riders, organizers and spectators observed a minute’s silence, and some competitors choose to wear a black armband as a sign of respect.

Jordan, an accomplished musician and qualified commercial airline pilot, had competed up to two star level in Britain. He had been married to Canadian event rider Shandiss McDonald for one year.

Mrs Angela Yeoman, who owns the venue, said: “It has been a very difficult couple of days and our thoughts are very much with Jordan’s family in Canada at this time.”

Kitty, who also won a novice section with Vendredi Biats, had been in two minds whether to run across country and made the decision following a superb showjumping round.

“He felt good on the ground that I decided to run and he travelled so well that I was able to push on. Waking up this morning and not wanting to run, and then winning is brilliant,” she said.

The gelding is owned by long term owners Diana Bown, Samantha Wilson and Jackie Owen and will run at Barbury at the beginning of July with the seven-year-old championships at Le Lion in October the target. “He’s a lovely young horse and has gone from strength to strength,” said Kitty who was second after the dressage but moved up to pole position after the cross country.

Tina Cook lead the field going into this phase having showjumped clear after performing the best dressage test in the section but added 9.2 time penalties to her score pushing her down to fifth, a result she was nonetheless thrilled with. “He’s a new ride for me this year. He’s quite a sensitive, spooky horse so I was really pleased with him, and even happier that the dressage judges seemed to like him too. The cross country was quite A’level for him so he will have gained a lot of experience. There were a lot of questions especially for his first two star but I didn’t want to go any quicker.”

Olivia Craddock finished in second on Coco De Cara, adding no time penalties after the across country having dropped a pole showjumping. Ajai Appuchu, who rides for India, was third on Cocky Locky with Aaron Miller, from Dorset, and Isle Valley fourth.

Organiser Alisa Hunter-Gordon said: “We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who showed such dignity, kindness and support at Nunney. Our deepest sympathy goes to the McDonald family at this very sad time.”

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