Britain's European pony squad take team bronze in Denmark
While Nick Skelton was rewriting history in Rio and winning individual gold, the British pony squad were fighting a battle for medals of their own in Denmark, and the quartet took bronze in the Nations Cup.
After round one of the teams, Britain was sitting in fifth on 12 faults, two fences behind the leaders. But the course for round two proved incredibly tough, and rival nations fell by the wayside as Britain held it together.
Italy waltzed ahead with a total of 12 faults for gold, and the Brits finished on a score of 20 after the second round of the teams to equal the score of Sweden.
Clear in the first individual qualifier, Allana Clutterbuck, 15, posted four and four in the team with Sue Evans’ Sultan Du Bary.
Jack Whitaker, 14, also clear on day one with Elando Van De Roshoeve, marred his first team round with four faults, but bounced back with a clear in round two.
Hallie Lunn, 15, and Javas Alun jumped for four faults on the first day and posted a good clear in the first round of the teams, but round two ended in elimination.
It was down to anchor Robert Murphy, 15, on Hans Christian Jacobsen’s Rainbows Mocha. They jumped for four faults on day one and returned five in round one of the team. A clear in round two would give Britain the silver medal, and four faults put us in a jump-off situation with Sweden. Unfortunately, the pair gave their utmost but came home on four.
The jump-off didn’t go our way. A strong Swedish team rose to the occasion for the first three riders to jump clear. Although Allana jumped clear with Sultan Du Bary to give Britain an initial boost, Jack jumped round for four faults when Elando put in an uncharacteristic stop.
With three riders clear, Sweden had taken the silver medal,the fourth riders had no need to start. Belgium took fourth with 27 faults, Ireland stood in fifth on 35 faults and Germany clamed sixth on 38.
“It was a particularly difficult competition today. We were lying equal fifth after the first round and had to hold it together to climb our way back up the leaderboard," said youth team manager Clare Whitaker. “The second round was carnage for many, but we held on and managed to finish in a strong enough position to jump off for the Silver and Bronze medal positions. Their medal was hard earned today and I’m proud of their achievements. It was a big scoring championships which gives a real indiciation as to how difficult it was.
“We have three riders qualified for the Individual Medal Grand Prix and Jack Whitaker is sitting high on the rankings carrying just the 4 penalties.”
The Indivdual medals will be decided on Sunday 21st August.
Photos © Helen Revington courtesy of British Showjumping