Britain narrowly missed out on a podium spot at the FEI European Reining Championships in Aachen on Friday (14 August).
Italy reversed the places from the 2013 Championships, by claiming team gold ahead of Germany in silver. The Netherlands secured bronze, with the British reiners just behind in fourth.
Italian team coach, Filippo Masi De Vargas said he was “simply thrilled”.
“This squad is made up of young riders, the future of our discipline, and they were just great, very professional and full of enthusiasm,” he added.
British rider Francesca Sternberg and Ten Reasons finished joint eighth in the team competition with a score of 215.5 — enough to advance automatically to the individual competition on Sunday (16 August).
“Ten Reasons just gave me another reason why my husband Doug chose him,” she said.
Francesca finished best of the Brits in ninth individually, while Doug finished 15th.
Meanwhile dressage champion Anky van Grunsven swapped her top hat for a stetson and was on the bronze-medal winning Dutch team. She partnered her own Whizashinningwalla BB.
Anky had previously competed in the reining competition at the 2010 World Equestrian Games, but this was her first medal in the discipline at an FEI event.
“It’s amazing, so much fun and I’m so excited about it,” said Anky.
“I know I can do dressage but to be on a bronze medal-winning reining team that’s something else. Earning a medal at the FEI European Championships is so good for this sport and the reason that I enjoy this discipline is firstly because I’m not good at it and I like the challenge, and secondly, I love the atmosphere both in and outside the arena.”
Italy’s Giovanni Masi De Vargas and Dance Little Spook won individual gold, while Germany’s Grisha Ludwig and Shine My Gun took silver. Fellow German Elias Ernst and Uss N Dun It claimed bronze.
“I started competing in 2009 in junior competition and this is my ninth FEI medal,” said Giovanni. “This is the first time I’ve competed in a senior championship and it’s been an amazing experience.”