Great Britain enjoyed a great weekend at the FEI European Eventing Championships for Young Riders 2015 at Strzegom in Poland when claiming the team title along with individual gold and silver. And it was 2014 team silver medallist, Christoph Wahler from Germany, who clinched individual bronze.
A total of 56 horse-and-rider combinations lined out, and 10 nations were represented in the team event in which Germany finished in silver medal spot ahead of the defending champions from Ireland in bronze. It was a gutsy performance from the Germans and Irish who went into today’s final jumping test with only three riders remaining after yesterday’s cross-country test.
British individual, Sophie Beaty, led the dressage rankings on a score of 36.30 with Stanly after the first day, but team-member, Will Furlong, overtook her when posting 32.70 with Livingstone on Friday. Constance Lucie Copestake and Aprobanta were awarded a mark of 40.40 by Ground Jury members Christina Klingspor (SWE), James Rooney (IRL) and Slawomir Pietrzak (POL), and this put the French rider into third ahead of Germany’s Flora Reemtsma IIkarosz) in fourth, Britain’s Emily King (Loxley) in fifth and Germany’s Julia Funtman (Contina) and Christoph Wahler (Green Mount Flight) in sixth and seventh places respectively.
Copestake would disappear from the reckoning on cross-country day however, when Funtmann’s 9.6 time penalties saw her plummet to 17th spot.
A total of 21 of the 56 starters collected fence penalties and eight were eliminated over the 26-fence cross-country track set by Polish course designer, Marcin Konarski. There were two retirements, including German team member Pauline Knorr (Abke’s Boy) who decided to call it a day after a refusal at fence nine and another at the third element of fence 21. And Copestake was the third of the French team to be eliminated, her day coming to an early end with a fall at fence six.
France had been looking really competitive when sitting in bronze medal spot, and just 20 penalties behind the British leaders, after dressage. But Stephanie Landois’ Klan de Cheylac fell at fence 11, and then Capucine Bourgeois’ Obelix de Mail fell at fence 20, so French team chances were already dashed before Copestake parted company with Aprobanta.
A total of 17 completed inside the time, and 10 had just one refusal on course. The individual leaderboard showed the British taking an even firmer hold at the end of the day, with Furlong and Beaty still holding the top two places and Emily King now lying fourth behind Germany’s Reemtsma who added nothing to her scoreline.
Beaty’s score didn’t count toward the team however, but King’s rise to fourth was backed up by the fact that Ella Hitchman and Rocky Rockstar dramatically improved from 12th to sixth place after their foot-perfect tour of the track while Isabella Innes Ker and Carolyn rose from overnight 20th all the way up to 13th when doing likewise.
The British now had just over 10 points of a lead over Germany in the team rankings, while the departure of the French allowed the Irish to move into third spot despite cross-country elimination for Harold Megahey and Chuckelberry who were members of the 2014 gold-medal-winning side. Cathal Daniels (Rioghan Rua), Susannah Berry (Carsonstown Athena) and Tony Kennedy (Westeria Lane) all kept a clean sheet on cross-country day, and once they had the bit between their teeth they were determined they would not let go. But they were being stalked by the Swedes going into the final jumping phase so there was plenty of tension as the third-phase action began.
Unbeatable final tally
Clears for Furlong, Hitchman and Innes Ker meant the British could discount the 12 final-phase faults collected by King for an unbeatable final tally of 128.10. And although Reemtsma picked up eight faults, both Wahler and Lisa-Marie Forster (Columbo) completed on their dressage marks to hold firmly onto silver for Team Germany. Also reduced to a three-rider side, the Irish were boosted by a clear from Daniels, and despite four faults for Berry and 10 for Kennedy, they finished more than 16 penalty points ahead of the Swedes who added 24 to their scoreline.
At the end of the day the individual scoreboard showed three of the British team, as well as individual competitor Beaty, in the top eight while Germany completed with three team-members in the top 10. Ireland’s Cathal Daniels, who started out in 17th spot, finished sixth behind Italy’s Matteo Arrighi who also completed on his dressage score with Quieto du Pin, while Britain’s Hitchman missed out on the individual podium by just three points.
It was another excellent result for bronze medallist Christoph Wahler who finished fifth individually at last year’s Young Rider Championships in Portugal and who won the CIC2* at Rockingham in May with Sammy Deluxe. And for 20-year-old Sophie Beaty today’s individual silver medal is a long way from her 33rd Championship placing twelve months ago with Stanly who finished fourth at Houghton Hall (GBR) in May and ninth at Barbury Castle (GBR) just last month.
Will Furlong, individual bronze medallist at the Junior European championships in Jardy (FRA) two years ago, has meanwhile lived up to the promise he showed when winning the CCIY2* at Houghton Hall last year before coming back to fill runner-up spot at the same venue this season.
FEI European Young Riders Team Eventing Championship 2015: GOLD – Great Britain 128.10: Livingstone (Will Furlong) 34.70, Rocky Rockstar (Ella Hitchman) 45.20, Carolyn (Isabella Innes Ker) 48.20, Loxley (Emily King) 54.00; SILVER – Germany 140.40: (Green Mount Flight (Christoph Wahler) 42.50, Ikarosz (Flora Reemtsma) 48.60, Columbo 38 (Lisa-Marie Forster) 49.30, Abke’s Boy (Pauline Knorr) 1,000 ; BRONZE – Ireland 164.80: Rioghan Rua (Cathal Daniels) 47.50, Carsonstown Athena (Susannah Berry) 54.20, Westeria Lane (Tony Kennedy) 63.10, Chuckelberry (Harold Megahey) 1,000.
FEI European Young Riders Individual Eventing Championship 2015: GOLD – Livingstone (Will Furlong) GBR 34.70; SILVER – Stanly (Sophie Beaty) GBR 39.10; BRONZE – Green Mount Flight (Christoph Wahler) GER 42.50.