Dressage star Laura Bechtolsheimer secured Britain’s second ever individual European medal with bronze on Mistral Hojris at Windsor (27 August).
Laura, 24, rode a personal best, scoring 80.083% to become the first British rider to score over 80% in international competition.
“I’m still a bit shaken up,” said Laura. “I was more determined in the arena than I have ever been and rode the best test I’ve ever ridden.
“To ride in a competition where combinations are scoring such high marks is very special — it’s good for the sport in Britain and worldwide.”
Listen to Laura’s interview
Judge and head of the ground jury Stephen Clarke concurred: “The sport is now wide open, any one of these riders could have won today, it’s fantastic for the sport.”
The competition was far from predictable. After scoring 23 10s in yesterday’s team test, the crowd assumed Edward Gal had individual gold in the bag today. He pulled off 32 10s, but also a few fours after mistakes in the one-time changes. Tension from Moorlands Totilas meant moments of brilliance were marred by too many errors. The pair took silver with 83.042%.
“He was already a little more excited in the warm-up today than yesterday,” said Edward. “But he is only nine years old and I know he can do better.”
Teammate Adelinde Cornelissen clinched gold with a more consistent test on Parzival. They too scored 10s, though not the same quantity, and had no mistakes.
“Before I went in I had no idea what the other riders had scored so just rode my horse the best I could in there — that’s all I ever do,” said Adelinde.
Britain’s Carl Hester pulled off another personal best on Liebling, with 72.25% for 10th place. This sees him through to Saturday night’s kür along with the top 15. There were no mistakes in the one-time changes and the horse only made one mistake in the left pirouette when losing impulsion. His entry and halt scored nine and he looked athletic throughout.
Listen to Carl Hester’s interview
Emma Hindle had a disappointing time on Lancet. Starting spectacularly, she was scoring around 76% when mistakes in the one-times and pirouette left scored fours and dropped the overall mark right down. They still finished on an impressive 70.75% in 16th place.
Senior championship first timer Maria Eilberg held her own, earning 68.83% for 19th place on Two Sox, despite a mistake in the two-time changes and a low-scoring walk. The passage picked up plenty of eights and the right pirouette a nine.
Listen to Maria Eilberg’s interview
For full report, pictures, comment and analysis from Windsor’s European dressage championships don’t miss Horse&Hound magazine out Thursday 3 September.