Young rider European Championships at Blair Castle 2007

  • Britain’s young rider team sped into the lead today after impeccable cross-country performances at Blair.

    The team made amends for their dismal dressage display, posting four fast clear rounds to leapfrog up the order from seventh to first — without incurring a single penalty. They hold an 11pen advantage over second-placed Switzerland.

    Individual rider Nicola Wilson’s fault-free round on the experienced Oingy Boingy lifted her up from seventh to third, while the top two consolidated their dressage scores. Dutchman Huub van der Mark on Exquis Idem Du Roc (pictured below) confirmed his 1pen lead ahead of German rider Sabrina Mertens (Divolo).

    Dutch rider Huub van der Mark  riding Exquis Idem Du Roc

    However, as Sabrina is riding as an individual, her score does not help Germany’s cause, and they have slipped from gold to bronze position. Their top team rider, Sandra Auffarth (Nobel Prince Old) fell foul of the colossal trakehner and retired, although Stefanie Oeschsle (Borsalino) held up the side with a clear and 7.6 time-faults.

    Of the British team members, Emily Galbraith (Crown Alliance) has the best chance of individual glory, moving up from 18th to sixth, with Danni Cuomo (Ballin Willow) next in 10th. All four Brits (completed by Charlotte Agnew and Georgie Spence) are now in the top 16, having been as low as 42nd on Friday night.

    “We weren’t expecting this,” said Emily. “We were hoping for a bronze this morning. But we didn’t feel any pressure, and we won’t feel any tomorrow. We have good jumping horses and we can relax.”

    Chef d’equipe David Merrett was unsurprised by the team’s performance.

    “They’ve prepared well – their final run was over the hills at Gatcombe – while perhaps the foreign riders aren’t used to the undulations,” he said. “We weren’t expecting the dressage to be the best, but I knew the cross-country would be good.”

    All of Britain’s representatives excelled themselves, producing seven out of the 15 clears inside the time.

    Belarus’s sole rider, Ilia Anisin, suffered a crunching fall from Arbat – but did not incur serious injury.

    Check out young rider team member Charlotte Agnew’s blogs, don’t miss our final update on tomorrow’s action here on HorseandHound.co.uk, and for a full in-depth report on all the action including fantastic photography, don’t miss Thursday’s Horse & Hound.

    Horse & Hound magazine

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