The British Junior Team clinched team silver in the Junior European Championships at Necarne Castle, Ireland this weekend. In a tense competition the British juniors finished just 0.5 pen behind the winning German team, with France in third place, more than 20 pen behind. Laura Collett and Fernhill Sox ensured the German’s did not wipe the board entirely; the pair took home individual gold, finishing on their dressage score of 36 pen.
Britain’s all-girl squad had a lot to live up to as they set off for Ireland; at the 2006 European Championships British young show jumpers and eventers brought home 12 medals, six of which were gold. But the team consisting of Georgie Spence (Song For Gull), Dani Cuomo (Ballin Willow), Emily Llewellyn (Society Spice) and Laura Collett plus individuals Laurie Cooper (Clonterm Bellair) and Charlotte Greenlees (James) proved they were medal winners as well, producing the junior squad’s best performance for over seven years.
“Our squad of riders were fantastic throughout the competition. Laura Collett has made an extremely successful transition from ponies to horses by bettering her individual bronze medal and I hope she will be available for the team next year!” said British Junior Chairman of Selectors Robin Balfour.
Laura has had an excellent season, winning the CCI two star at Tweseldown. Her 36 pen dressage score was good enough to secure her the early lead and flawless cross-country and show-jumping rounds with the Hambro’s Fernhill Sox ensured she maintained it. “He was awesome cross-country,” she said afterwards. “He took quite a hold and was really up for it. Number four was quite twisty and downhill, we almost had a dodgy moment there but everywhere else he was amazing.” Emily Llewellyn was the next best Briton in fifth with 40.7 pen.
Sadly, individual Charlotte Greenless, riding James, suffered a fall on the flat in the cross-country phase and was forced to retire but the remaining individual Laurie Cooper, with Clonterm Bellair, jumped clear inside the time, leaping from 16th after dressage into the top ten. Team Riders Dani Cuomo and Georgie Spence also managed faultless rounds to move up to 11th and 15th respectively.
The artificial show jumping surface ensured a large number of the field jumped clear, including the counting three team members from both Germany and Britain. With the German team already 0.5 pen ahead, the British girls were unable to claw back the half penalty, leaving gold medal to Germany.
“All six girls rode exceptionally well and Charlotte’s fall was extremely unlucky. I’m delighted the squad coped with the pressure and produced two medals to match our other squads,” said Robin Balfour.
1st Germany 125.0
2nd Great Britain 125.5
3rd France 148.2
1st Laura Collett/Fernhill Sox 36.0 GBR
2nd Julia Krajewski/Leading Edge 36.2 GER
3rd Franziska Roth/Dictus J 39.3 GER
4th Cristoffer Forsberg/Grafman 39.5 SWE
5th Emily Llewellyn/Society Spice 40.7 GBR
9th Laurie Cooper/Clonterm Bellair 46.4 GBR
10th Dani Cuomo/Ballin Willow 48.8 GBR
16th Georgie Spence/Song For Gull 50.7 GBR
Read Horse & Hound’s full report of all the action from Necarne, including analysis and pictures of the CCI* and CCI**, in this Thursday’s issue of Horse & Hound (21 September, ’06)