Britain’s young talent promises a bright future for British equestrianism. At this year’s European Championships British young show jumpers and eventers brought home 12 medals, six of which were gold.
Hugh Thomas, Chairman of the British Equestrian Federation praised the attitude and team spirit of all those involved; “It is absolutely clear that the Olympic sports are now achieving a significant strength and depth,” he said. “Their achievements in show jumping and eventing are quite remarkable and I should like to pay great credit to the riders, their owners and their team management on their wonderful achievements.”
After a winter and spring of concentrated training, the young riders’ run of luck began in early July when the British Accenture Young Rider team won a silver medal at the European Show Jumping championships. The same weekend the Accenture Junior show jumping team won a bronze medal and young rider Gemma Paternoster and junior William Whitaker both scored individual gold medals.
The medal winning continued at the 2006 Young Rider and Junior European Eventing Championships in Pardubice, Czech Republic where the jump saving young rider team won a gold medal and Amy Young took home individual gold.
More medals were received by British talent at the Pony Championships in Saumur, France. The John Whitaker show jumping team won a gold medal and the Derby House eventing team took bronze. Daniel Neilson, a member of the show jumping team won an individual gold and eventer Libby Soley was awarded individual silver.
The dressage riders in the equivalent competitions should not be forgotten as some bad luck and horse lameness put paid to their medal hopes. However, a number of good performances showed great promise for the future of the young dressage riders.
It must also be remembered that Britain’s 2006 quest for medals is not over yet. There are still more medals to be won at the Junior European Eventing Championships at Necarne Castle, Ireland (14 – 17 September).