BRITAIN is sitting in bronze medal position going into the final day of the team competition at Windsor’s European dressage championships tomorrow (26 August).
The Netherlands is way out in front after a cracking performance from Adelinde Cornelissen on Parzival (80.64%), and Britain is 1.927% behind Germany.
Carl Hester pulled off a personal best riding Donald Mactaggart’s Liebling II (72.09%) and was in the lead until a mistake for the last one-time changes meant he scored fours and fives for that movement.
“I feel like I’ve played my part now and hopefully taken a bit of pressure off Laura [Bechtolsheimer] and Emma [Hindle] tomorrow,” said Carl. “We actually have a silver medal in our grasp — though I don’t care what colour it is, I just want a medal after all these years!
“I’m not worried what happens individually in the special or if I even get into the kür, I came here to do a good job for the team and Liebling’s done that. He’s not hugely elastic like the Dutch horses, he has to work really hard to do what he did today.”
Listen to interview with Carl Hester
Maria Eilberg, first to go for Britain, pulled off 67.92%, riding Two Sox. It was Maria’s senior team championship debut and she rode her socks off. A disappointing walk and extended trot was all that marred an otherwise smart and consistent test.
Listen to interview with Maria Eilberg
The Netherland’s Adelinde Cornelissen was also making her major championship debut, having been reserve at Hong Kong last August along with Maria.
“I knew he was in good shape coming here but you never know what they will do in the arena,” said Adelinde. “He was so focussed in every movement, really relaxed in the arena, and when he’s like that he finds the exercises really easy.”
Britain’s great individual medal hope Laura Bechtolsheimer rides Mistral Hojris at 11:27 tomorrow and Emma Hindle, best of the Brits at the 2008 Olympics on Lancet, is on at 14:45. You can follow all the action at H&H Live, our interactive text coverage featuring expert commentary from Anna Ross Davies and Charlie Hutton.
The individual gold medal favourite, Moorlands Totilas, competes under Edward Gal of the Netherlands at 15:03. The horse was sent to the holding box after the first horse inspection when presented to president of the veterinary committee Paul Farringdon, the foreign veterinary delegate Dr Friedrih Wilhelm Hanbucken and the FEI foreign technical delegate Mariette Withages. He was then represented and passed.
Twelve teams are fighting for the three medals tomorrow, with 54 horses having been presented at the first horse inspection.