The individual final for the 2023 European Showjumping Championships at the San Siro racecourse in Milan, Italy (30 August-3 September) was an absolute thriller, with gold going to Steve Guerdat of Switzerland riding Dynamix De Belheme.
But there was plenty to keep British showjumping fans on the edge of their seats too, as Ben Maher and Faltic HB finished a very close fourth. The reigning Olympic champion was left ruing the four faults he accumulated in the first of this two-round medal-decider, which sealed five days of brilliant action at the European Showjumping Championships.
“I’m disappointed. That’s the second time in a row that Faltic’s finished fourth individually for me – the world games last year and the Europeans this year,” said Hertfordshire-based Ben.
“It was an expensive fence down in the first round today,” added Ben, who would have claimed silver behind Steve Guerdat had the fence into the triple combination not fallen.
The pair went on to jump a foot-perfect clear in round two.
“Maybe if I went back, I would do something different, but it felt good. It was an unfortunate fault, that’s just the way it goes,” he said.
European Showjumping Championships: “Definitely not helped by the ground”
Ben said the 13-year-old stallion, whom he owns with Charlotte Rossetter and Pamela Wright and who is looked after by groom Derren Lake, jumped “incredibly all week”.
“I don’t like to blame other things, but the fence on the first day was definitely not helped by the ground situation here,” said Ben, adding to the thoughts of several riders about the state of the going, although Ireland’s individual finalist Denis Lynch described it as “fine”.
“So it’s just disappointing – the team was a bit of a long haul, then I was out on my own today. I knew I probably had to be double clear to be in with the chance of a medal, so that fence was expensive.
“It didn’t feel like it took a lot out of Faltic compared with other championships, so I’m very happy to have him go home safe,” said Ben. “I’m disappointed we didn’t get something in the end, but we did our best.”
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