Endurance GB names British riders for FEI European Championships

Rachael Atkinson will be competing alongside her daughter Kate

Rachael Atkinson will be competing alongside her daughter Kate

Endurance GB has announced the British team who will compete at the FEI CH-EU-E 160km European Championships at Euston Park in Suffolk on 17 August 2019.

The combinations were announced following a final assessment of horses at Warwick International School of Riding on Sunday, 4 August.

In a first for Endurance GB, the five-strong squad includes Lancashire-based Rachael Atkinson (51) and daughter Kate Atkinson (22) who will become the only mother and daughter to have competed on a Senior British Team to date.

As well as Kate, who is making her Senior Team debut after stepping up from Young Rider team competition, the squad includes four experienced combinations all with completions for the British Team at previous Championships under their belt. The Championship rules permit five designated entries per country with the top three combinations home from each nation counting towards the team placing.

The full team in alphabetical order is:

  • Kate Atkinson (22), Clitheroe, Lancs, with her own DNS Ronaldo, 12-year-old bay Arab gelding. Crew; Will Langley, Beth Langley, Cate Langley, Dan Pascoe and Carri Ann Dark.

  • Rachael Atkinson (51), Clitheroe, Lancs, with her own Tannasg Psyches Realm, 11-year-old chesnut Arab gelding. Crew; Andrew Atkinson, Caroline Cowley and Jess Mchugh, Ann Dark, Roger Dark.

  • Annette Masterson (49), Whiston, Staffordshire with her own Shoshana, 15-year-old, chestnut Arab mare. Crew; Paula Lynam, Ann Harrison, Felicity Edmeston, James Dickinson and Katie Bedwin

  • Sarah Rogerson (31), Chepstow, Monmouthshire with her own and Rachael Cratchley’s Warrens Hill Rubyn, 12-year-old grey Arab gelding. Crew; Rachael Cratchley, Mary Stubbs, Steve Rogerson, Rose Yates and Nikki Malcolm.

  • Nicola Thorne (48), Shipdham, Norfolk, with her own LM Bolena, 14-year-old chestnut Arab mare. Crew; Andy Thorne, Hannah Verkerk, Greta Verkerk, Lee Clark and Laurence Ridgeway

  • Chef d’Equipe: Liz Finney Team Vet: Georgina Vaughan Team Farrier: Kelvin Lymer Team Physio: Sam Daplyn.

Endurance GB chairman Rebecca Kinnarney said: “We would like to congratulate all the riders and wish them and their crews every success at Euston Park – the whole of Endurance GB will be rooting for them.”

Commenting on two successful team places for the Atkinsons, Rebecca added: “Endurance is truly a family sport and multi-generational participation by the whole family whether as rider, crew or trainer is common. However, for the Atkinson family to get two human and equine athletes qualified and on top form for a championship event such as the Europeans is an exceptional achievement.”

Rachael Atkinson, who runs an equine rehabilitation centre using hydrotherapy, described her and Kate’s selection as a dream come true: “To have my best friend alongside me at a home Championship will be my greatest accomplishment. We have joked about it in the past and now it has become a reality and I could not be prouder of our little team.”

Kate Atkinson, who is about to begin her fourth year as a veterinary student at Liverpool University first started in the sport 15 years ago. She said: “Endurance was something my mum did and it looked fun, so she let me start doing some pleasure rides on my pony when I was seven years old.

“Being shortlisted for a championship on home soil is a wonderful feeling, especially as it is my first year on the senior team. I’m looking forward to competing alongside my mum, it will be incredible if we can both complete the ride together.”

Commenting on her team place Sarah Rogerson, who works as a data scientist for a water consultancy, said: “I'm proud to be competing at the Europeans for Team GB, I have competed at Euston Park a number of times over the years, I know the course well, which parts of the course to respect and where to pick up the pace.”

She said competing at a home-based Championship made selection this year extra special. “The endurance community in this country is pretty amazing, so it will be very nice to share the experience with other riders and supporters of the sport on home soil.”

Annette Masterson, who runs a caravan sales company, commented: “Euston is a wonderful course through stunning parkland and with great water-crossings. We have a strong group of horses and riders and it will be fantastic for Team GB to get all the horses completing at a good speed and finishing safe and well.”

Nicola Thorne, a former chair of Endurance GB, whose day job involves working with her husband’s shipping business, said: “It is such an honour to have the opportunity to represent your country in the sport that you love and to do so in partnership with my much-loved and treasured mare Bolena, as well as my fabulous crew and the rest of the team, who are all at the very highest level of the sport. There is really nothing that can top this. 

“I also hope that the European Championships will be a great inspiration to other endurance riders of all ages within the UK and also to promote endurance in general. This will be a real flagship event, and I am very proud to have the opportunity to be a part of that.”

This is the first FEI European Endurance Championship to be held in the UK since the 1993 Championships at Southwell in Nottinghamshire, where Britain won both team and individual gold medals.

The Championship is part of the HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum UK Endurance Festival (15-19 August 2019). The event, which also features the Pony Club National Championships, and an FEI CEIO2* 120km Nations Cup competition as well as national rides is organised by the HPower Group and sponsored by Meydan.

The event is expected to attract riders from around 40 countries with more than 600 horses taking part over the four days.

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