Germany hosted the fourth edition of the FEI European Championship for Children, Juniors & Young Drivers on the 22 – 25 September, where six new European Champions were crowned.
A new dressage arena had been created for this year, where the young drivers performed some good dressage tests demonstrating accurateness of the figures. When it came to the marathon section, International Course Designer Josef Middendorf (GER), designed a tough and EC-worthy marathon. The youngsters all performed well, proving there’s a good new driving generation coming through, both in technique and style.
Twenty-four Children aged between 12 and 14-years-old competed against each other in the Single Pony class where 14-year-old French driver Chloe Ubeda moved up from eighth in the dressage to second place after the marathon stage with her 17-year-old pony Kobus to take the gold medal. Elise Strauss from Sweden won individual silver with her seven-year-old Welsh pony Sir James. The bronze medal went to Great Britain’s National Champion Colette Holdsworth, driving her eight-year-old pony Pepper, which she only started to drive in November 2015.
Unfortunately, both the Juniors and the Young Drivers Pony Pairs classes only had one competitor in each. So taking the Juniors Class was 16-year-old Valentine Lenormand (FRA) and 21-year-old Zsófia Kovács won the Young Drivers class.
In the Junior Single Ponies, 15-year-old Andrea Schöftner drove her German riding pony Dr. Watson to the eighth place in dressage and moved up to silver due to an excellent performance in the marathon, in which she finished on second place, behind Markus Clasen (SWE). Denmark’s Mikkel Kruse Johansen was on gold before the cones, but with two knockdowns he dropped to silver, which allowed Andrea to take home the gold. Another bronze success for Great Britain with Emily Viller and her 20-year old pony Ryan.
Marlena Brenner (GER) laid the basis for her gold medal in the Young Drivers Single Ponies Dressage phase, which she and her 19-year-old pony Leonardo won. With her third place in the marathon, which was won by Berengere Cressent from France, Marlena kept her lead and was able to hold on to this through the difficult cones course. “My pony Leonardo has accompanied me ever since the start of my driving career and we have developed together. Schildau was a great event for us, youngsters. I do not say that just because I won gold, it was a perfect event, simply ideal for us,” said Marlena Brenner. Taking home silver was David Palkovics (HUN) with his 11-year-old Caramelo and Linnea Kristiansen from Sweden won bronze with her experienced Plassens Lucky Luke.
The Young Drivers in the Single Horse class was exciting even though it was obvious that the medals would go to Germany. Jovanca Marie Kessler drove really well with only one knock down, to claim the bronze medal. Marie Tischer and Dreamgirl were the only ones who managed to complete the course without any mistakes. Dressage winner Anika Geiger who was last to go even with one knock down won gold. “The sport fascinates me because of its versatility with the three disciplines. It’s been a year and a half with my horse Anabelle. It is great fun to drive her,” said Anika Geiger.
The Nations Cup was won by Germany after a close battle with France and Sweden, who took home silver and bronze.
Children pony singles
1. Chloe Ubeda (FRA) 96,36
2. Elise Strauss (SWE) 99,06
3. Colette Holdsworth (GBR) 100,12
Junior pony pairs
1. Valentine Lenormand (FRA) 157,11
Junior pony singles
1. Andrea Schöftner (AUT) 132,86
2. Mikkel Kruse Johansen (DEN) 133,78
3. Emily Viller (GBR) 135,33
Young driver pony pairs
1. Zsófia Kovács (HUN) 159,55
Young driver pony singles
1. Marlena Brenner (GER) 126,46
2. Dávid Palkovics (HUN) 136,88
3. Linnea Kristiansen (SWE) 136,98
Young driver single horse
1. Anika Geiger (GER) 123,41
2. Marie Tischer (GER) 125,87
3. Jovanca Marie Kessler (GER) 133,38
1. Germany 358,23
2. France 365,59
3. Sweden 365,71