Britain’s junior eventing squad has brought a four-year medal drought to an end by capturing team bronze at the Junior European Championships at Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy last week.

The squad of Francesca Ludlam (Secret Avalanche), Jolyse Clancey (On Song), Tamsyn Hutchin (Tully Lane) and Holly Wick (Redoubtable III) were lying well down the order in sixth place after the dressage, despite some personal best performances in this phase.

However, the team demonstrated their considerable talent over fences with fantastic performances across country, which brought them right up into medal contention. All four riders then went on to produce faultless show jumping rounds – the only team to achieve this – to clinch the bronze medal just 0.6 penalties behind France.

The German team had taken a substantial early lead after dressage, which they retained with clear cross-country performances. Despite clocking up 12 faults to count in the show jumping, they retained the lead and took gold.

Robin Balfour, chairman of junior selectors, was delighted with the result: “The team have been working very hard on their dressage and it certainly is starting to pay off. A good dressage score can put you in an unassailable position at this level, although the cross-country and show jumping phases did prove influential on this occasion.”

Fitness also played a role in the final medal positions, after Italy, who were well placed after cross-country, lost one of their best horses at the final trot-up.

“The FEI vet said the British horses came off the XC course in the best shape of all the team horses,” said Balfour. “Unfortunately some horses were not as comfortable and that undoubtedly influenced the final positions.”

Francesca Ludlam made her final Junior European Championship appearance count as Britain’s highest placed individual. She finished in sixth place on her dressage score of 51.50.

Team results

Gold – Germany 154.9;
Silver – France 167.6;
Bronze – Britain 168.2.

Individual results
Gold – Zampano M (Nicola Haller) GER 39.1;
Silver – Paso Doble (Huub Van Der Mark) NED 49.3;
Bronze – Electra (Evalina Bertoli) ITA 49.8;

British results

6, Secret Avalanch (Francesca Ludlam) 51.5*;
9, On Song (Jolyse Clancy) 55.2*;
16, Tully Lane (Tamsyn Hutchin) 61.5*;
22, Redoubtable III (Holly Wick) 66.0*;
28, Dovecote Miss Scally (Tanya Buckingham) 74.1;
29, Woodlands Talisman (Hannah Bucknell ) 78.1.

Team members *