British Dressage have announced that Fiona Bigwood's Olympic horse, Atterupgaards Orthilia, has been sold to Danish rider Agnete Kirk Thinggaard.
Fiona partnered the 12-year old mare, known as ‘Tillie’, as part of the British team for the 2015 European Championships in Aachen, Germany and the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil, winning team silver at both.
Fiona, a mum of three, said; “It was a very hard decision, but Tillie is in the prime of her competition career and I want the best for her. My home commitments mean I can only do around four top-level shows a year and she deserves to have her full potential realised.
"She’s the most talented, generous and clever horse I’ve ever ridden, but I know she’ll have the best home and chance of success with Agnete. We waved her off yesterday on her journey to her new home in Denmark.”
Fiona and her husband have recently located to a new base near Haywards Heath in West Sussex, which needs major renovation and development. Alongside being mum to Mette, Morten and Lars, this will take much of her time. However, riding is still very much part of her life and she has no plans to retire.
Fiona said: “I love training and competing so my career is far from over. I have some exciting youngsters at home and am currently looking for another so I’m not ready to hang my boots up just yet!
“My priority is my family and home so while I won’t be out competing at the big internationals for a while, I’ll still be busy at home working on producing a future Olympic champion for Britain.”
Jason Brautigam, Chief Executive of British Dressage commented: “I’m sure everyone in the dressage community will be sad to see Tillie go and break this magic partnership. She’s hugely talented and still has great potential for the future, so this is a big loss to Team GBR.
"On behalf of British Dressage, we would like to thank both Fiona and Tillie for their significant contribution to the two team silver medals in 2015 and at last year’s Olympics. While this combination will be much missed, Fiona’s stable of exciting youngsters will hopefully mean that she’s back as part of our medal-winning teams in the near future.”