Golden glow of Olympic Games shines on Chipping Sodbury

August 30 2016

THE Chipping Sodbury base of event rider Nick Gauntlett played its part in two performances at the Rio Olympics - one of them securing a gold medal.

THE Chipping Sodbury base of event rider Nick Gauntlett played its part in two performances at the Rio Olympics - one of them securing a gold medal.

Astier Nicolas and his horse Piaf De B’Neville put in the best performance of the victorious French eventing side that struck team gold at the Games, later adding the individual silver medal to his collection.

Nicolas had set himself up at the Gauntlett farm in early 2013 in order to prepare for his Badminton Horse Trials debut but ended up stayed on with Rio in his sights, only moving out last year.

He also achieved a degree in equine management at Hartpury College - the Gloucestershire campus of the University of the West of England.

Meanwhile, Gauntlett can take some credit for the best performing of the British eventing team horses, Chilli Morning, having found the horse as a youngster and producing the stallion to a top standard.

The horse’s owner later moved him to William Fox-Pitt, who rode him in Rio. The pair led after the opening dressage but incurred 20 penalties across country before going clear in the final showjumping.

Despite not getting a medal, it was remarkable that the rider was there at all after he suffered a serious head injury last autumn.

Earlier in 2015, Fox-Pitt won Badminton with Chilli Morning and afterwards paid tribute to the involvement of Gauntlett in the horse’s success.