The final showjumping phase at the 2019 European Championships for Ponies went down to the wire this weekend in Strzegom, Poland, but the British Charles Owen team held their nerve to lift the gold medal along with the individual gold and silver.
Impressive dressage tests and some incredible riding on saturday’s cross-country course saw the Brits heading into the final phase in the gold medal position, and with a strong penalty advantage over their closest competitors.
But a technical course and tight optimum time awaited them in the showjumping phase, and it was soon apparent that clear rounds were going to be few and far between, and a fence down costly to placings.
Nerves of steel from Jill Barker’s team ensured that they kept their lead as the overnight team placings were unchanged by the end of play. Britain’s efforts were rewarded with a gold medal by over 18 penalties from France in silver, with Ireland taking bronze.
Whilst the team positions didn’t change from their overnight standings, there was lots of movement in the individual competition.
Coming into the showjumping in sixth place, Finn Healy produced a cool clear round adding just 0.4 time penalties to his dressage score of 31.3.
As the poles fell for the riders ahead of him, Finn rose quickly up the ranks to finish in individual gold on his sister, Ellie Healy’s Midnight Dancer.
Daisy Bathe, who entered the arena last in the gold medal position, put in a great effort over a course that had caused problems all morning, and looked to be enjoying a super round on Georgina Herrling’s SF Detroit.
Sadly the combination had a stop late in the course, and also took down the final fence to add eight jumping and 2.8 time penalties to their score, seeing them complete in seventh place.
Just one rider before Finn, Ibble Watson secured GB’s first clear round, leaving all the fences up and making the time allowed to finish on her dressage score of 32.7 penalties.
Finishing on her dressage score of 32.7 penalties, Ibble climbed the leaderboard to take the individual silver on Erica Watson’s Brookhamlodge Pennylane.
Performing brilliantly all week as the British pathfinder, Freya Partridge rounded off the competition in style on Master Macky, picking up just four jumping faults saw them rise from 10th to finish just outside of the medals in fourth place.
Xanthe de Wesselow, riding as an individual, also enjoyed a successful week, adding four jumping and 2.4 time penalties from showjumping moved her up into the top 10 on Laura de Wesselow’s Baramona Lass.
Also riding as an individual, Amelia Ludiman with Tynan Mist, added eight jumping penalties to their score to see them finish in 22nd place.
In an emotional medal ceremony, the squad dedicated their incredible win to their good friend and championship long-listed rider Iona Sclater, who sadly died in a riding accident exactly one week ago.
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