Pregnant Zara Phillips plans speedy equestrian return

Theresa McCaffrey

British equestrian competitor Zara Phillips is already looking forward to returning to the equestrian circuit in 2014 - even though she is heavily pregnant.

Phillips, who is married to the former England rugby player Mike Tindall, is due to give birth on January 14th but is still hoping to compete in the 2014 equestrian season.

After giving birth at the NHS Gloucester Royal Hospital, the 2006 BBC Sports Personality of the Year will start planning her return to competition as soon as possible.

Phillips has an ultimate goal of taking part in the World Equestrian Games, which is set to take place at the end of August in Caen, France. If she is to make it to that contest, Phillips will need to get plenty of equestrian practice under her belt over the course of the summer.

The Sunday Express reports that Phillips will take her baby on the equestrian circuit in 2014 and is not intending to rely on the support of nannies to raise the child.

"Zara can’t wait to be a mother and is really looking forward to it. She feels the baby could arrive at any moment even though it's expected in mid-January," a friend of the 32-year-old said.

Phillips is arguably the best known equestrian competitor in Britain, having racked up titles such as the Eventing World Championship in Aachen in 2006 and a silver medal at the last Olympic Games, which were held in London in 2012.

However, Phillips will have some work to do to eclipse the achievements of fellow rider Charlotte Dujardin in 2014, as she recently achieved the highest ever score for a Grand Prix Freestyle Dressage test at The London International Horse Show at Olympia.

Dujardin, who won gold medals in both the team and individual dressage at the 2012 Olympics, was awarded a score of 93.975 per cent for her sequence on board her horse Valegro.

Phillips has been resting up ahead of the birth of her first child, although she was pictured indulging her love of horses at the Point-to-Point races in Cambridgeshire recently. Zara was keeping tabs on her own horse Frankenstorm.