Ben Maher claimed his spot on the podium this afternoon by winning Individual Silver at the European Championships in Rotterdam on the 10 year-old chestnut gelding Explosion W owned by Poden Farms.
Going into the Individual Final, they headed the leaderboard after having jumped three outstanding clear rounds earlier in the Championships which had played a pivotal role in delivering a Team Bronze and an Olympic qualifying ticket for Great Britain.
This afternoon saw the top 25 combinations come forward to contest the Individual Final in the stunning Rotterdam Arena across what proved to be a true Championship course where the medals weren't decided until the final rider had been.
For Ben, it was yet another clear with the incredible Explosion looking as careful as he had throughout the Championships. This saw them retain their place at the top of the leaderboard going into the fifth and final round in which only the top 12 were invited to come forward.
Joining Ben was Holly Smith with Hearts Destiny, a 10 year-old bay gelding owned by TJ Hall Limited, the only other British combination to qualify for today.
Unfortunately Ben clocked up some jumping penalties just before the final fence, resulting in him sliding from pole position into the Individual Silver medal place despite a faultless performance up to that point.
Martin Fuchs for Switzerland moved into Individual Gold with Clooney 51 whilst Jos Verlooy for Belgium claimed the Individual Bronze with Igor.
Talking afterwards, Ben said: “On the day I wasn’t good enough to beat Martin, but all of these horses deserve to win – I made one mistake and I’m very happy that if anyone has to beat me, it is Martin.”
In summing up the Championships, Performance Manager Di Lampard said “It’s been an incredible Championships for us and to be returning home with an Olympic qualifying ticket, which was the main objection of the Championship, in addition to two medals is absolutely fantastic.
“The whole team were outstanding and to have two riders in the top 10 stands testament to the depth of top level horses and riders that we have in Great Britain.
“In respect of Ben and Explosion, it is almost impossible to find the words to convey how extraordinarily talented they are. They have performed exceptionally across all days of the Championships and to have got so close to a gold medal showcases this.”
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