The Spanish athlete Paula Muntala Sanchez riding 10-year-old Echo Falls emerged triumphant in the 120km Meydan FEI European Endurance Championship for Young Riders and Juniors in Portugal completing the ride in 05:14:57 in 30°C heat.
The event which is an important grounding for the future top Endurance riders was held at the Rio Frio Equestrian Centre. This top competition drew 38 athletes aged between 14 and 21 from 11 countries to leave the start at 06:30am on Saturday, 3 September.
The all-female Spanish team came into each vet gate within minutes of each other and arrived at the finish just after Paula Muntala Sanchez, placing second - fifth individually in this order: Laura Fernandez Piña on Cadigaam, Bruna Pujols Aumatell on Lludriga De Masferrer, Raquel Costa Condina on Kalima Casanova and Naroa Calvo Ibáñez on Escarsi.
“The plan was to be strong with all the team from the beginning to ensure that at least one of our team members could be in the medals,” said Paula Muntala Sanchez. “The biggest strength of my 10-year-old Appaloosa is in his character. He saves energy during the competition, which allows him to have a quick recovery at the end of each loop.”
The five Spanish athletes dominated the race from the start, never leaving first position throughout, but knew they were being chased by France’s Henriette D Ursel on Wloszka Fontanel and Emma Frances on Quokin De PSA.
João Maria Moura riding Distinto for Portugal kept within five minutes of the first seven riders throughout the course and he was followed by Italy’s Costanza Laliscia on Rok and Camilla Coppini on Veinard Secondo.
“It was a fantastic day of top quality sport. The Spanish team led the ride from the very beginning showing their supremacy, and the high skill of the athletes and the horses proved that even with a very technical track, a 57% completion rate could be achieved,” said FEI Endurance Director, Manuel Bandeira de Mello.
Results - top ten individuals
1. Paula Muntala Sanchez, Echo Falls (ESP) - finish time 05:14:57
2. Laura Fernandez Piña, Cadigaam (ESP) - finish time 05:14:58
3. Bruna Pujols Aumatell, Lludriga De Masferrer (ESP) - finish time 05:14:59
4. Raquel Costa Condina, Kalima Casanova (ESP) - finish time 05:15:00
5. Naroa Calvo Ibáñez, Escarsi (ESP) - finish time 05:15:05
6. Henriette, D Ursel, Wloszka Fontanel (FRA) - finish time 05:34:10
7. Emma Frances, Quokin De PSA (FRA) - finish time 05:34:11
8. Maria Moura João, Distinto (POR) - finish time 05:45:18
9. Constanza Laliscia, Rok (ITA) - finish time 06:08:32
10. Camilla Coppini, Veinard Secondo (ITA) - finish time 06:08:33
Results - top three teams
*Teams count the highest-placed three members for classification
1. Spain - finish time: 15:44:54
2. Italy - finish time: 19:04:10
3. Portugal - finish time: 19:40:47
*Also finished: Belgium (finish time 19:57:53) & Netherlands (finish time 20:42:03).