Britain’s pony eventers grabbed the team silver medal in a close final show jumping phase at their European Championships in Moorsele, Belgium (29 July-3 August).
The Derby House-sponsored team lay in the bronze medal position after the cross-country, but in the show jumping Lottie Kennedy, 16, and Katie Bleekman, 16, produced clear rounds to elevate the team to silver.
Lottie finished fifth individually on Darraks Tonto, Kate was sixth on Cregaan Scenic, while reigning British pony national champion Ella McEwen, 15, contributed the third team score in 12th on Catherston Nutsafe.
Fourth team member Sophie Martin, 15, (Trewithian Bracken) finished 36th after a couple of problems cross-country.
Individual Jessica Watts, 14, also had a successful trip, taking seventh place on Lord Of The Ring. Britain’s other individual, Alfie Bradstock, 15, withdrew Montezuma II before the show jumping when he was lying in 15th place.
Ginnie Keen, chairman of the pony selectors, was delighted and said: “All six children have been amazing throughout these championships; they really gelled together and supported each other.
“The team has done a superb job. We thought we would come home with the bronze, so getting the silver is fantastic. All of the riders did their very best and really deserve this medal.”
Squad trainer Jonquil Hemming was particularly pleased with the British riders’ performance in the dressage phase: “We were all thrilled with every single one of the dressage tests, all the team and their ponies produced a solid, good test.
“They are a really good bunch of kids and they all fought for each other and were very encouraging.”
Britain’s show jumping and dressage teams both finished fifth place, but Shropshire-based Chad Fellows, 15, won a second medal for Britain when he produced a foot-perfect double clear to win the individual show jumping bronze on 12-year-old gelding Snatch.
Holly Woodhead was best of Britain’s dressage riders, finishing 11th in the freestyle and 10th in the individual test on Languard 4.
Full report on the dressage, show jumping and eventing from the pony European Championships in next week’s Horse & Hound (13 August).