British hopes were dashed at the Young Rider European Eventing Championships in Montelibretti, Italy today (24 September).

Will Furlong, who was the dressage leader riding Livingstone, retired at fence eight on the cross-country course, Guiseppe’s Lake, after he felt that his horse wasn’t quite right.

Chef d’equipe of the British young rider team, Alex Colquhoun, said: “Sadly we found that Livingstone was lame this morning with a foot abscess. Our team worked hard to get him right and so Will started the cross-country, but unfortunately he pulled him up at fence eight after he felt he wasn’t quite right.”

This is a blow to the British team who have now slipped from third to fourth in the team standings, less than four penalties behind third-placed Italy.

Sam Ecroyd rode a class round on Opera House, finishing three seconds inside the optimum time to now sit in fifth place individually.

“My horse has never run in this heat — he’s used to competing in Wales!” said Sam, referring to temperatures of 27 degrees at the time he tackled the tough track.

“Opera House really tried for me but we had to fight for the clear round. I felt him starting to tire at the second water at fence 18 which is only a little over halfway round so I had to nurse him a little bit.”

The next best placed Brit is India Wishart riding The Masters Harry who jumped a clear round but incurred 11.6 time-faults — they lie in 19th place.

Fellow team member Ella Hitchman is in 27th place after a classy clear across country on Rocky Rockstar. They incurred 7.6 time-faults.

British individual rider Katie Bleloch said she had a “foot-perfect round” on Bulano. They picked up eight time-faults and sit in 28th place.

The Germans continue to dominate, holding all top three individual spots following the cross-country.

Marie-Sophie Arnold jumped clear inside the time (one of only seven to do so) to move up from silver to gold medal position riding Remember Me 74. Individual German rider Rebecca-Juana Gerken is in silver medal position riding Scipio S and Hanna Knuppel (team rider) is in bronze riding Carismo 22. Just 7.5 penalties separate the top seven individual spots.

Best of the Irish riders is Elizabeth Hayden riding Loughnatousa Joey who is in 12th place. The Irish team sit in fifth place after Susie Berry and Kelley Hutchinson incurred 20 penalties each.

Junior European Eventing Championships

Britain’s junior riders enjoyed an almost perfect cross-country day with five out of their six riders jumping clear inside the time, to hold on to their team bronze medal going into the showjumping tomorrow. They are less than one showjump (four penalties) behind the second-placed team, France.

Best placed Brit is Phoebe Locke, who sits in seventh place riding Union Fortunus.

“My horse found the track very easy and I wasn’t worried at all as he’s jumped double clear pretty much all season,” said Phoebe.

Fellow team member Richard Coney is just behind Phoebe in eighth place on his lovely little bay horse Kananaskis. Standing at just 15.1hh, he ate up the track to finish 11 seconds inside the optimum time.

Individual rider Chelsea Pearce is in 11th place on Albert. Unfortunately fellow individual rider Chelsea Round fell off when her horse, Fleetwood Mac, ground to a halt at fence 16a — a log into water. Both Chelsea and her horse were fine.

Remaining two team members Felicity Collins (RSH Contend Or) and Bubby Upton (Eros DHI) are in 13th and 17th place respectively.

Again Germany dominate proceedings with a commanding 17.5-penalty lead in the team standings over second-placed France.

Individually Germany hold gold and silver medal positions with Jerome Robine (Guccimo R) and Anais Neumann (Pumuckel E) maintaining their dressage places respectively. France’s Victor Levecque is in bronze.

The Irish team are in fifth place.