Ulla Salzgeber and Rusty retained their European title following a victory in the kür at the European Dressage Championships, where they scored a massive 85.44%.

The FEI decided to award six medals this year — three for the Europeans and three for the Open Europeans, which included competitors from outside Europe.

Ulla and Rusty won both gold medals. Their mega score was the icing on the cake of a highly successful championship held in the Britain for the first time in 16 years.

Paying tribute to the British spectators, Ulla said: “They were great. They were very quiet at the beginning of the tests and when they saw what they liked they exploded.”

The British fairytale continued with all riders producing good tests. Richard Davison (Ballaseyr Royale) was best Brit in the kür, scoring 75.24%.

In the overall individual rankings, Emma Hindle was top Brit, coming eighth; followed by Richard in 10th place and Nicola McGivern (Active Walero) in 14th place.

British performance manager Ferdi Eilberg, who led his team to bronze medal glory, said: “Everybody knew it was crunch time for us, we concentrated on producing personal bests and at last everything came together.”

Lisa Wilcox (Relevant) took the open European silver medal and stalwart Swedish team member Jan Brink (Bjorsells Briar) took the open bronze and the European silver medal. Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat (Beauvalais) took the European bronze medal.

Jan Brink was another breakthrough success story. With his Swedish Breeding stallion Bjorsells Briar, he has worked his way through the ranks, training the horse since it was a two-year-old.

“He held his form for all three days, producing better and better tests for me, with few mistakes,” said Jan.

His coach of five years, Kyra Kyrklund, whose championship dreams were curtailed when her horse Andiamo Tyme developed a foot abscess just prior to the championships, said: “I always said that Briar could be a medal-winning horse. Jan is very hard-working and, for me, this victory makes up for everything.”

Individual medals

Open European
Gold: Ulla Salzgeber and Rusty (Germany)
Silver: Lisa Wilcox and Relevant (USA)
Bronze: Jan Brink and Bjorsells Briar (Sweden)

European
Gold: Ulla Salzgeber and Rusty (Germany)
Silver: Jan Brink and Bjorsells Briar (Sweden)
Bronze: Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Beauvalais (Spain)