Pau, France—Oct. 28
Great Britain’s Tom McEwen set the stage for a good weekend at Les Etoiles de Pau CCI5*-L by leading the dressage with his partner Toledo De Kerser, and the 12-year-old Selle Français gelding (Diamant De Semilly—Ariane Du Prieure II, Papillon Rouge) proved he was the whole package by adding just .8 cross-country time penalties to his dressage score to win on 25.7.
“The Pau five-star event is the first CCI5*-L that I have won in my riding career,” said McEwen. “My horse was just fantastic in the show jumping test. He was fantastic to ride and made a great clear round. All I had to do was guide him properly, make sure the stride was right, and the rest just took care of itself.”
McEwen has ridden “Toledo” for the gelding’s entire international career including a second-placed finish in the 7-year-old championship at Le Lion d’Angers (France) in 2014, and they were part of the gold-medal winning team effort for Great Britain at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games (North Carolina).
Australia’s Christopher Burton rode Quality Purdey into the reserve spot, moving up from sixth after dressage.
“I’d like to congratulate [cross-country] course designer Pierre Michelet who did an incredible job today,” said Burton. “The course was amazing to ride, because it was difficult to ride home while the clock was still green.”
Another Australian pair, Shane Rose and Virgil, rounded out the top three. They finished on a score of 34.6.
“I’d like to send special wishes to my wife who has stayed at home with our four children and enabled me to come here to France to compete in this amazing competition on the other side of the world,” said Rose. “The dressage test didn’t go as well as I’d have liked, but the cross-country course and the show jumping went well. It’s the second time I have competed here in the Pau five-star event, and this time round I had a much better experience.”
Five-star first-timer Jack Pinkney of Great Britain came under fire online after his horse Raphael, a 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Limmerick—Beveny, I’m A Star) attempted to jump a dividing wall between fences 27 and 28AB on cross-country and crashed into it.
“Yesterday our [cross-country] in Pau didn’t go as planned at all, but the most important is that ‘Stan’ is all fine,” the 27-year-old wrote on his Facebook business page. “My rein snapped during the [cross-country], and we continued the course… My adrenaline was up, and I wanted to finish it, to not let anyone down… Stan was amazing, and everything was going well until this moment when I lost the rein completely.
“I was so angry with myself, and if I had to live this moment again I would pull up to preserve my boy from any risks,” he continued. “I would like to apologize to everybody for the worry I gave but most of all, apologize to my partner, Stan, because he didn’t deserve that. He is just the most amazing horse [I’ve ever known], and I owe him everything. He is today enjoying a lot of the French grass, and we will go home tonight for him to have a well deserved time in his field at home.”