William Fox-Pitt and Georgie Spence have been selected to represent Team GBR at the Ready Steady Tokyo test event in Japan, ahead of next year’s Olympic Games.
William will be riding Catherine Witt’s 10-year-old gelding Summer at Fernhill, while Georgie will partner her own and Suzanne Doggett’s 13-year-old gelding Halltown Harley, with whom she completed Badminton in the spring.
William has a wealth of championship experience, most recently as part of the team that competed at the Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro in 2016 – he and Chilli Morning finished 12th individually as the highest-placed British combination. Summer at Fernhill has completed three international competitions with William this season.
“I am really excited to be asked to go to the test event, it will be one of life’s great experiences,” said William. “I rode in the test event at London Olympics and that was a huge advantage for the real thing. I will also be there in a supporting role for Japanese rider Kazuma Tomoto, so am looking forward to seeing the event from all angles.”
Part of Team GBR’s podium potential squad, Georgie has represented Great Britain on a number of occasions, including when she was second at the Nations Cup leg at The Plains in the USA with Halltown Harley in 2018. The previous year, the pair also won the Nations Cup leg at Wiener Neustadt in Austria.
“It’s a complete honour for both Suzanne and me to be invited to compete at the test event,” said Georgie. “The experience as a rider is going to be incredible and riding at the Olympic venue is something I will always be very proud of doing.
“Suzanne has been a huge support to me for a number of years and I’m very excited to share this with her. I know this means a lot to her, too. I’m really looking forward to the whole experience, which has already started with planning the journey, managing and planning for the conditions, and everything else that’s involved with preparation.”
Accompanying William and Georgie to Tokyo will be their support teams and key representatives from Team GBR, one of only a handful of national federations sending riders to the test event.
Vikki Underwood, Team GBR’s Performance Director, commented: “An Olympic and Paralympic Games held in the height of summer in Tokyo is likely to present us with some unique challenges. The test event provides us with the only opportunity to gather first-hand information on how we can optimally prepare and deliver success at the Games next year.
“Team GBR have chosen to really invest in this opportunity in order to give us a performance edge, but we can only do so through the generosity of the horses’ owners, the riders willing to put themselves out to support the success of our team, funding from UKSport, and the expertise of the human and equine sports scientists who have worked tirelessly to ensure we are testing the right things and gathering quality information.”
The Ready Steady Tokyo test event is taking place from 12–14 August. Dressage and showjumping phases will take place at the main Equestrian Park of the Japanese Racing Association in Baji Koen, which also hosted the equestrian events at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964, while the cross-country phase will take place at Sea Forest Park in Tokyo Bay.
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