Britain’s young riders bounce back from disappointing cross-country to take bronze

  • Britain claimed individual silver and team bronze medals at the young rider European Championships in Herdade Vale Sabroso, Portugal, last week (18-21 September).

    Holly Woodhead remained on her dressage score riding her father Ian and stepmother Heidi’s DHI Lupison to rise from 18th after dressage to take the individual silver.

    Tom Jackson provided the second best team score for the Askham Bryan-sponsored British team — making amends for a fall at the final fence at last year’s championships — when he claimed seventh on his own and his parents Sara and Ian’s Waltham Fiddlers Find.

    David Doel led the dressage, but had a run-out of a double of corners on a tough cross-country day. He and Miss Caruso, who he co-owns with Jane James, still finished 19th to help the Brits to bronze.

    Britain’s other riders also all completed — they were team member Alexandra Liddle on John Huntridge’s Romeo Z (22nd) and individuals Isabella Innes Ker on her mother the Duchess of Roxburghe’s Rosses Captain (21st) and Sophie Beaty riding her own and Alison Booth’s Stanly (33rd).

    Chairman of selectors Alex Colquhoun said: “After yesterday’s disappointments [only Holly and Tom jumped clear across country], I am so thrilled for all the riders. They lowered just two poles between them during some fantastic showjumping.

    It has been a roller coaster of a week, and in the end a team bronze and individual silver for Holly is a great result.”

    Strong cross-country performances elevated Ireland from fourth after dressage to eventual team gold.

    Their performance was spearheaded by individual bronze medallist Elizabeth Hayden (Miracle) and fourth-placed Harold Megahey on the former William Fox-Pitt horse Chuckelberry. The other team members were Joshua Pim with The Irish Miracle (ninth) and Jodie O’Keefe on Kachemire Le Beau (eliminated).

    Team manager Sally Corscadden said: “It’s been a fantastic week in very tough weather conditions and I’m very proud of the riders battling all week. All six riders were absolutely brilliant.

    “We have a brilliant support team Ian, Heike, Will, professional grooms and fantastic parents.

    All our plans came together, the athletes rode confidently and rode to orders with very tough ground conditions. We are absolutely delighted, it’s fantastic.”

    Horse Sport Ireland chairman Prof Patrick Wall said: “A wonderful team performance with a great support team once again demonstrates the benefits of the Horse Sport Ireland high performance training programme for our talented young riders. With these rising stars in the pipeline the future for Ireland in international eventing is looking great.”

    Ireland’s individuals — Tony Kennedy (Westeria Lane) and Jennifer Diamond (Early Spring) — both finished in the top 15.

    The individual gold medal went to Germany’s Charlotte Sophia Hachmeister, who held onto her lead despite two showjumps down with Kassio 10.

    Don’t miss a full report in H&H next week, out Thursday, 2 October.

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