This French rider battled through ‘complicated paperwork’ to bring her mare to Britain to compete during the pandemic
Covid-19 may have made international travel difficult, but the up-and-coming British riders won’t have it all their own way in the under-25 class at Bicton Horse Trials, supported by Chedington, this week. French rider Barbara Sayous, 24, lies second at the halfway point of the dressage, riding Opposition Filmstar.
“I did Bramham two years ago, and I love British eventing, so as it’s my last year in the under-25 class I decided to go for it,” said Barbara, who was eighth at Bramham Horse Trials in 2019.
Barbara was able to obtain an exemption so she did not have to quarantine on arrival in Britain, but she did have to do “a lot of paperwork” and multiple Covid tests.
“It was really complicated, but I’m here and I’m happy to be here,” she said.
Barbara said her mare was a little nervous before her dressage test, so she didn’t do much in the warm-up, but she was “really concentrated” in the arena.
Opposition Filmstar is 17 years old and Barbara Sayous has had her since she was eight. She is British-bred, having been bred by John Johnston by his stallion Fleetwater Opposition. Barbara spotted her competing at one-star in France with Tom Carlile.
“I saw her and my dad said, ‘It’s your horse’,” said Barbara. “She’s really ‘mare’ and she’s complicated, but she gives lots to the rider and always wants to do a good job.”
Barbara described the cross-country course at Bicton as both big and technical, but she says Opposition Filmstar is strong in this phase and she looks forward to riding it.
The pair recently jumped clear across country with eight time-faults in the CCI4*-L at Saumur, but were eliminated at the second horse inspection. Their best international result is second in the CCI4*-S at Barroca d’Alva last March.
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