Great Britain has taken team silver at the Windsor European dressage championships, beating Germany into bronze to the delight of the home crowd.
Laura Bechtolsheimer, the youngest team member at 24, led the charge on Danish-bred gelding Mistral Hojris (pictured right). The individual medal contender finished in third in the team test with 76.638% — a personal best and the highest mark a British rider has ever achieved in an international grand prix.
“I felt a bit of pressure because we knew we had a good chance,” said Laura. “But I also felt in control and prepared. He’s the most honest horse I’ve ever ridden and he tried so hard in there.”
Listen to interview with Laura Bechtolsheimer
Emma Hindle became the first British rider ever to win two team medals, having been part of the 2003 bronze team at Hickstead. She carried all the pressure being last to go and knowing she needed Lancet to produce a 71% test to get silver. She pulled off 72.9%, just to be sure.
“As the last rider in the team I wanted to do a risk-free test, but still do enough to get what we needed for the silver medal,” said Emma. “It was a different situation at Hickstead in 2003, we were a less experienced team — here we had expectations.
“I’m very happy, but I don’t think it’s sunk in. Just to ride in front of this home crowd and the castle is amazing.”
Listen to Emma Hindle’s interview
Carl Hester’s personal best with Liebling of plus-72% ensured the team had a chance of silver, but Germany put up a good fight, finishing 2.45% behind in bronze. This is the second time that Great Britain has won a European team silver medal, with the first in Lipica in 1993.
All four British riders, including Maria Eilberg who finished 27th on this her senior championship debut, go through to the grand prix special tomorrow.
The Netherlands had clinched gold even before Edward Gal started his test on Moorlands Totillas, who scored 10s for the first four movements, and more — the only other 10 in the entire class had been awarded to team-mate Adelinde Cornelissen (Parzival) for an extended trot. Edward finished to a standing ovation on 84.09%.
Watch Edward Gal’s dressage test
Don’t miss the full report, pictures, comment and analysis of the entire championships in Horse & Hound 28 August issue. You can also follow the action tomorrow on Horse & Hound Live, featuring interactive commentary from European young rider team member Charlie Hutton and Anna Ross Davis, best of the Brits at Turin Europeans 2005.