AUSTRALIAN Paul Tapner started the season well at the Land Rover Gatcombe One Day Event, held by permission of HRH The Princess Royal at Gatcombe Park.
Badminton 2010 winner Tapner, who is based at Wickstead Farm Equestrian Centre in Highworth, rode six horses over the two days, winning the Advanced Intermediate class with Indian Mill and coming fourth with Kilronan, who now heads to Badminton.
He also won the Intermediate section G with Up In The Air and was placed in the Open Intermediate with Yogi Bear VIII.
Popular local rider, Daisy Berkeley was third in Novice section C with Kiltubrid Rhapsody and was placed with three of her other four rides with Not For Diamonds seventh in Novice Section B, Koyuna Sun Storm ninth in Open Novice Section E, Strike Smartly tenth in Intermediate Section H and Mopani 38th in Intermediate Section J.
Regular Gatcombe competitor Harry Meade from West Littleton was delighted to be back out competing following a serious fall in August 2013 in which he broke and dislocated both his elbows.
Meade, who only began riding again in January, was second in the very competitive Advanced Intermediate class with Wild Lone and finished in the ribbons with three of his four other rides.
He was named as part of the British squad for the International Nations Cup Series in 2014 earlier this year.
Young Cheltenham rider Ella Hitchman was elated to take third place behind Tapner and Andrew Nicholson in Intermediate section G, riding her own 11-year-old Rocky Rockstar.
This was Hitchman and Rocky’s first competition at Intermediate level.
Kemble-based Scottish rider, Nicky Roncoroni took fifth in Novice section B with Willunga and tenth in the Open Intermediate section J with Watts Burn.
Roncoroni was part of the successful 2013 British Nations Cup Team, along with Kitty King from Lower Stanton St Quinton, and both remain in the squad for 2014.
William Fox-Pitt, Oliver Townend and Nicholson each rode eight horses over the two days.
Fox-Pitt won Intermediate Section H with Henton For Fun, Townend triumphed in two sections with Skyhills Cavalier and Black Tie II and New Zealand’s Nicholson finished in the ribbons with four of his eight rides.
Many of the world’s top horse and rider combinations who competed here are aiming for selection to the World Equestrian Games which take place during August in France.