Tim Stockdale has put himself firmly back in the Olympic running, leading Britain to second place in the third leg of the FEI Nations Cup over the weekend (1 June).
Riding his 2010 King George V Cup winner, Fresh Direct Kalico Bay, Tim jumped one of only three clears around a challenging course in St Gallen in Switzerland. The pair repeated its faultless performance the following day, coming second in the Longines grand prix.
Tim only returned to the ring eight weeks ago, following a fall last October, which left him with three broken vertebrae and the possibility of never riding again.
"Gallen went better then I ever dreamed it would and the horse jumped phenomenally,” Tim told H&C. “We’ve made it to the Olympic shortlist and I think we’ve got good enough form for final selection. Frankie [Kalico Bay] is very careful and in every class he’s gone in he’s got placed.”
Also riding for Britain were Nick Skelton on Carlo, who had just one down in the first round; Michael Whitaker on Viking who had four faults in the first round and 12 in the second; and brother John, who also had one down in the first round on his new ride, Maximillian. A total score of 8 faults put the team in joint second place with the Swiss hosts, and just one fault behind The Netherlands who took the top spot.
With three legs down the Dutch are currently at the top of the FEI Nations Cup leaderboard. The next event on 24 June is on their home turf in Rotterdam, which puts them in a very strong position to maintain their lead – although there are only 0.5 faults between the current leaders and Belgium and Germany who are in joint second place. Britain is fifth, but with five stages yet to come the competition is still wide open.
Rotterdam is also the final chance for Olympic selectors to see the riders compete on a world class stage before they make their final decision. Tim will be riding once again on the British team, which is a place he feels he has truly earned.
“I’m really grateful to be where I am, but I’m not shocked,” said Tim. “It’s all part of the master plan. The problem is horses aren’t very good readers, so you often need to make changes last minute. At the moment everything is going well and I’m definitely a contender. I just hope I don’t trip up at the end.”