The GB Pony Team riding under the sponsorship banner of Team Fairfax did the nation proud today by securing a Team Silver at their European Championships in Arezzo, Italy.
Looking incredibly strong from the outset and with all four riders having put in solid performances, Great Britain were in pole position after the first round.
Heading the leaderboard on a zero penalty score after the first round early this morning the riders came back for the second round at 4pm this afternoon. Jumping in reverse order, Great Britain were the last of the ten nations to come forward with the competition taking the same format as the Nations Cup competitions where only the three best scores count allowing one of the team members rounds to be a drop score.
Germany, France and Ireland were sitting in joint 2nd place on 4 penalties and France and Ireland on joint 5th on 8 penalties. With just two fences dividing the top six places there was all to play for and none of the nations were going to let the opportunity of winning a medal out of their grasp easily.
Amy Inglis, aged 16 years from Haywards Heath, West Sussex with her mother’s (Claire) 14 year-old chesnut mare Lea du Genier were the first to go for the team. Putting in a brilliant clear this morning, they incurred 4 penalties this afternoon. With rider after rider collecting penalties after them, each of the teams in contention found themselves accruing points.
Next to go was Emily Ward, aged 14 years from Neston, Cheshire with her father’s (Nick) 8 year-old chestnut gelding King Mac. This morning had seem them collect 4 penalties on course, however a perfect clear in round two saw their performance leave Great Britain in first place position.
Faye Adams, aged 15 years from Halesowen with her mother’s (Julie) 14 year-old chestnut mare Some Like It Hot were the third rider for the team. Putting in a great clear earlier, they just missed out on another and came through the finish with 4 penalties.
With all of the nation’s having put forward their third riders, the three nations set to battle it out for Gold were Germany, Great Britain and France if their final rider jumped clear enabling them to drop score their first riders penalties. As Germany’s final rider passed the finish line having jumped clear it meant that they carried just their 4 penalties from this morning and it was heart-in-the-mouth time waiting for the final French rider to go. Unbelievably, their fourth team member whom had jumped clear in the morning was eliminated making it a two way fight between ourselves and Germany.
Entering into the arena, Millie Allen, aged 15 years from Stockton-on-Tees with her father’s (Peter) 10 year-old bay mare Song Girl knew she had to jump clear if were to go into a third and deciding round with Germany. Looking set to do just this it was gut-wrenching to see the flag go up at the water to indicate she had touched the tape whilst leaving all the fences standing and incur 4 penalties.
This saw Great Britain take the Team Silver position with Germany in Gold and Ireland take Bronze on their finish score of 12 penalties. France dropped down into 4th position on an end score of 16 penalties.
Talking after the competition GB Pony Chef d’Equipe, Katrina Moore said “It’s always upsetting to be that close to a Gold Medal and to lose it from your grasp at the last minute, but it shouldn’t detract from the tremendous achievement we’ve had here today. We have won a team silver against incredibly strong teams and Germany were always going to be the one to beat. All four members of the team along with our fifth rider Alex Gill have been have been consistent throughout the qualifying competitions and we now head towards the Individual Final on Sunday with all of five of them having qualified. I’m incredibly proud of everyone and their performances, I really am.”
Further information about the show and the competition schedule can be found by visiting www.arezzoequestriancentre.com.
The British Youth teams are sponsored by Fairfax Saddles. It is Fairfax’s primary aim to improve the performance of the competition horse. All the saddles and girths are developed using the most advanced technology and are tested extensively. All research and design work is carried out under the direction of Vanessa Fairfax, an ex-International showjumper and University qualified designer. The company is based in Walsall and manufactures all its own products. For more information, please visit www.fairfaxsaddles.com.
The GB Showjumping Teams are strongly supported by the UK Sport Lottery funded BEF World Class Programme. The teams are further supported by Animo UK, Champion Hats, Next and Toggi.
For further information on the Championships and results, please visit www.sunshinetour.net