Britain’s pony team reigned supreme at the FEI Nations Cup Youth Finals in Sentower Park, Opglabbeek, Belgium, winning with an amazing zero score despite the pressure of a tight competition.
Three nations tied at the top on a zero score following Thursday’s qualifying competition and Britain’s fantastic form continued on the final day. All four Brits came home penalty-free – first off Megan Li on Harry followed by Tatiane Mauree with Horseabout Zibu, Lila Bremner stepped up to the place on Lapislazuli and anchor Claudia Moore bagged the final clear with Delflip to stand top of the podium.
Germany finished second on five faults and Ireland claimed third just one fault behind on six.
It went to the wire in the Junior Nations Cup with the British team narrowly finishing second in a nail-biting jump-off just a fraction of a sec behind Germany.
The top six teams qualified for the final on the last day and all started on a clean sheet. And Britain’s first three competitors – Sienna Charles, 17, on the 10-year-old mare Chinta Van Geluut Z, Allana Clutterbuck, 18, with the 10-year-old Vykinbay and Ben Clark aboard the 10-year-old Jancovica – all came home clear. It meant anchor Olli Fletcher wasn’t required to start Horst Van De Mispelaere as the score could not be bettered.
Germany also finished on a zero score, forcing a jump-off. Both Sienna and Allana posted clear rounds duly followed by the first two German riders, but Germany edged ahead on time. And when Ben came home on four and his German counterpart was clear, the pressure weighed heavily on Olli’s shoulders. Not only did he have to go clear, it had to be fast.
He gave it his best shot, setting out with a forward pace on the 13-year-old Horst to return a fast clear – but it wasn’t quite enough, Germany had the edge by 0.39 sec to stand top of the podium. Belgium finished third on four faults.
The young rider team also claimed second in their Nations Cup just two faults behind winners The USA.
Again, six teams qualified from Thursday’s competition and the final day started with a clean sheet. Pathfinder James Winter, 19, got the proceedings off to a good start with a clear on the eight-year-old mare Garande but second out Taisie de Gruchy, 21, just tapped out a rail for four faults on the 12-year-old Winner of Picobello Z.
Our final two riders left every fence intact but both crossed the line slightly over the time allowed, Scarlett Charles, 18, with the 12-year-old Lordanos Junior and Alex Gill, 21, riding the eight-year-old mare Goldenstar incurring one time fault apiece.
The USA claimed the top spot on a zero score with Denmark in third on four faults.
Ollie Tuff jumped into second in the 14-strong junior 1.30m accumulator with Esgracia, the 10-year-old Warrant daughter finishing 0.72 sec behind the winner.
Joe Fernyhough on the Colman 10-year-old Jappeloupe Van Het Neerenbosch and Taisie de Gruchy with the Zanzibar eight-year-old Live The Life returned maximum scores in the young rider 1.35m accumulator to take third and fourth.
It didn’t go according to plan for the British team in the Children-on-Horses Nations Cup final and they finished fifth of six teams. Amelie Gachoud on The Precious One and Phoebe Farman with Calle produced clears and Chloe Lemieux made just one mistake for four faults on Freya but an unfortunate elimination for Tabitha Kyle and Grennanstown Sarco Luxhill meant every score counted and it put them in fifth. The Netherlands won on a zero score with Germany in second on four just ahead of third-placed Belgium on time.
Text © Jumping Around/Photos courtesy British Showjumping/Pegasus Photo Creations