14-year-old Oliver Fletcher from Faringdon, Oxfordshire made his presence felt in Wierden, The Netherlands earlier today when he won the Children’s Grand Prix aboard Kimberly White’s 9 year-old chestnut mare Dahar.
Oliver, who has won Team Silver at the last two Children’s European Championships, looked in excellent form when he posted a first round clear alongside ten others.
Joining him in the 11 strong jump off having also produced a clear was 13-year-old GB rider Holly Truelove from Brigg, Lincolnshire with Barry Truelove’s 11 chestnut mare Golly Girl who finished in 3rd.
About the Jump Off, Oliver said “I was 6th to go in the jump off.
There had been a few clears, but none of them had been particularly fast.
I knew that there were some fast riders coming up after me so I decided I should go for a fast clear.
“I came out the ring in a time of 41.02 seconds and although I knew I couldn’t have gone any faster I wasn’t sure if anyone after me could," says Oliver.
"I took myself off and walked around the collecting ring whilst waiting for the rest to go.
"One rider did manage to beat my time but they had a fence down so it was a case of waiting until the very last rider had gone before I could relax.
"It was certainly nerve-wracking!”
Talking about the standard of jumping at the show, Oliver’s mother Tina who was London 2012 reserve rider furthered.
“The standard of jumping within the Children’s environment at Wierden today was just incredible.
"We have been involved at this level for the past two years and the improvements, even during this short time, is astounding.
"The course today was both big and technical, it would definitely have been the biggest children’s course I have seen.
I’ve always thought that riding horses at a younger age teaches them so much and plays a pivotal role in their development and from what I’ve seen today has only served to reinforce that thought process”.
"The closest rider to Oliver’s time was Lilli Collee (GER) with Barry Brown Escaille who broke the finish line clear in a time of 41.90 seconds.
"Holly Truelove, just failed to catch their time stopping the clock in 43.33 seconds to take 3rd place ahead of Giulia Bertolla (ITA) who took 4th."