The British children-on-horses team take gold at the European Championships
In a tense, two-way decider, the British children-on-horses team held strong to take the gold medal at the Youth European Championships in Samorin, Slovakia.
On a zero score after three rounds, Britain went head-to-head with Belgium in a nail-biting jump-off. But the British team proved determined and resolute, and with our first three riders – Angel Tough with Callumbus, Jocasta Symons on Concordette RR and Mattie Lanni aboard Newbridges Master Brown all returning solid clears, they landed the gold without anchor Oli Fletcher on Disckoboy DN having to start as Belgium fell back with eight faults to take silver.
The pressure had fallen on Mattie, 13, as third to go for Britain when Emilia Housen and Flicka faulted for Belgium.
“My team members told me just go clear,” said Mattie, who pulled the magic penalty-free round out of the bag to secure gold.
The bronze medal also went to a jump-off situation, with Poland easing ahead of Denmark to take a podium position.
Fifteen riders now stand equally at the top of the leaderboard on a zero score going forward to the individual medals on Saturday, including Mattie on the 11-year-old Master Brown (Verdi/Corland) and Oli, 14, aboard the nine-year-old Disckoboy (Ard VDL Douglas/Silverstone).
And the other two team riders are in striking distance. Jocasta, 14, returned on four in the second round of the team competition with 10-year-old mare Concordette (Lord Z/Fuego Du Prelet) and Angel, 14, picked up five faults in the first qualifying round but added no further penalty in the Nations Cup with the 10-year-old Callumbus (Cassini II/Royal Feu).
British-based Ella Quigley, who rides for Ireland, is also in the running for an individual medal on the Baltic VDL/Chin Chin seven-year-old F. The pair carry just one time fault and currently stand 16th.
Following round one of the young riders Nations Cup, Britain lie in second at the halfway stage just one fault behind Belgium. Jake Saywell produced a fine clear on the 10-year-old mare Havinia Van De Roshoeve. Emily Moffitt aboard the Dulf Van Den Bisschop 10-year-old Hilfiger Van De Olmenhoeve and Amy Inglis on the Guidam/Wellington nine-year-old Wishes made just one mistake to return four faults each, and Millie Allen came home on five with the 12-year-old Balou Du Rouet stallion Balou Star.
Belgium carry seven faults into round two with Britain on eight. Italy currently lie in third on 12 and the Irish team – including British-based Lucinda Roche on WCE Falco who currently lies eighth for the individual medals – are in fourth on 13.
Jake’s clear pushed him to the top of the individual medals leaderboard on 2.40 penalties, 0.28 ahead of second placed Gilles Thomas for Belgium. Emily is in seventh and Milie stands 12th with Amy 19th.
Photos © Jumping Around & courtesy British Showjumping