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The British intermediate team made a trip to the CEI three-star 147km ride at Compiègne in France and qualified to compete at World Championship level in four-star endurance races.

Under sunny skies and a light breeze, with the temperature in the mid-20s, competitors followed much of the 2000 World Championship course. Rain earlier in the week had cleared the humidity and settled the dust on the forest tracks.

The ride was run in five phases, with four vetgates, each with a 40min hold.

Team rider Flt Lt Sally Payton said: “It was a technically demanding course with several climbs and descents. The going was mainly sand or dirt and often deep, making it hard work for the horses. Several of the descents were extremely steep and were a test of each rider’s nerve.”

Belgian rider Leonard Liesens with Orfeo took first place at 16.505kph. Four British team members completed, the best — Sally Payton and Melisendra — in 13th place at 14.267kph.

Ursula Hargreaves (Classic Zacheriah), Mary Stubbs (Warren Hill Chanda) and Avril Bruce (Auchengean Khalif) came in soon after her, but Linda Hams’s Perfeq Camilla May was sadly vetted out lame.

Of the 38 starters, 21 finished, and, in addition to the intermediate team, which was sponsored by Performance Equestrian and Equizest, two other British riders finished — Theresa Longden on Nadeena (20th) and Pam James with Miss Mary (21st).

Read more endurance news and reports in this week’s Horse & Hound (11 September), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.