Orthilia, British Olympic Silver Medal Team Horse, Sold to Denmark

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Fiona Bigwood on Orthilia for Great Britain at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Feb. 2, 2017

Orthilia, Great Britain’s 2016 Olympic team silver medal mount of Fiona Bigwood, has been sold to Denmark’s Rio team rider Agnete KirkThinggard, British Dressage announced Thursday.

The 12-year-old Oldenburg mare (Gribaldi x Donnerschlag) whose full name is Atterupgaards Orthilia but is nicknamed “Tillie” and ranked No. 16 in the world with Fiona, was also on the British silver medal team at the 2015 European Championships in Aachen, Germany.

Agnete, 33 years old, rode Jojo AZ for Denmark at the Rio Games where Anders was a team mate.

Fiona, married to Danish team rider Anders Dahl with whom she has three children, 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 realized. 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.”

Fiona and and Anders recently located from a farm near Hickstead, England to a new base near Haywards Heath which needs major renovation and development.

Fiona, who suffered a fall from a horse three years ago causing concussion and lingering vision problems similar to American dressage rider Silva Martin, said she intends to keep riding.

“I love training and competing so my career is far from over,” she said. “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.”

Fiona worked Orthilia with Carl Hester prior to the Rio Olympics, as did her team mates Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro and Spencer Wilton on Super Nova.

The 40-year-old rider on the 2010 World Games and six European Championship teams as well as the 2016 Olympics, began competing Orthilia at CDI level two years ago. The pair started 22 times and won seven.

Jason Brautigam, Chief Executive of British Dressage, said: “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 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.”