The Dutch pony dressage team snatched European victory from the Germans by just two marks at Bishop Burton today, claiming gold for the first time in 20 years. Britain narrowly missed out on the bronze, finishing just four points behind Denmark.
The Netherlands and Germany were nip and tuck throughout the competition, with the German riders following the Dutch into the arena every time. It wasn’t until the last German, Katerina Weychert with Golden Derano C, had finished that the Dutch knew they’d won.
Denmark took bronze with 206.222, some 13 marks adrift of Germany, putting the Great Britain team into fourth.
“We’re delighted. It’s the last year in ponies for three of the team and they’ve been working together for this so long,” said Netherlands’ Chef D’Equipe Tineke Bartles.
The final medal positions weren’t secured until the last test — Team GB’s Claire Gallimore with Gigolo. As the sevens and eights consistently hit the scoreboard, British supporters crossed everything. But disappointingly Gigolo broke in his medium trot, earning fours across the board. The pair recovered to finish on 68.61%, putting them into 10th individually, and leaving the team just four marks behind Denmark.
The British team, who had been ninth overnight, rose to seventh place after a sparkling test from third rider and team debutante Erin Williams (Danny Boy B) for 69.55%, putting them into eight place individual to finish best of the British. The previous day Charlotte Gill and Ferrari scored 64.5% to leave her in 24th, with Lottie Fry on 59.5% and 36th.
Erin Williams, 12, said: “I’m over the moon to be in eighth, as my trainer said she’d be pleased if I got into the top 15. Before I went in I said to myself ‘Yes! Get in there and do it!’ which seemed to work.”
Meanwhile, the British event team are off to a strong start heading the overnight leaderboard with Grace Walker on veteran team pony Noble Springbok on 46.9pen in individual first and Alfie Bradstock on Montezuma III in fifth on 51.9pen. Harry Humfrey, competing as an individual, lies in ninth with 57.2pen on Tantany Torch.
Follow the action from Bishop Burton on Horseandhound.co.uk and read H&H”s full report on all the action in next Thursday’s magazine, on sale 5 August