Britain within reach of team medal at European Para Dressage Championships

Britain’s para dressage team sits in a strong position overnight, with a medal well within their grasp at the European Para Dressage Championships in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Two Brits were in action on the first day of the team competition. Mari Durward-Akhurst got the campaign off to a great start with a personal best of 70.83% on Sky O’Hara, taking sixth place in grade I ranks. The 20-year-old gelding was far more relaxed in the arena that in Wednesday’s individual championship, with only one tense moment.

“Just as I halted someone dropped something but overall it was much better. He has an amazing walk but it is hard to get it spot on in there,” said Mari.

Having already claimed the grade II individual silver medal, Georgia Wilson pulled out another cracking score on the 10-year-old Midnight, producing 74.76% to top her section and give Britain real confidence in their chances of a medal.

“She felt very good in there; her trot was amazing outside but it is so much harder to keep that in the arena because of all the transitions in this test — although we practise so many of those at home,” said Georgia.

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Home team the Netherlands look set to take gold in a repeat of their World Equestrian Games result. Rixt van der Horst and Nicole den Dulk each laid good scores on the table today and their two biggest scorers are expected to be Frank Hosmar and Sanne Voets, who both ride tomorrow.

Britain are expected to fight it out for silver, along with Denmark and Belgium. Nicky Greenhill will ride for Britain in grade IV tomorrow at 3.55pm (2.55pm UK time), while Sophie Wells will be hoping to pull out a chunky team score in grade V at 9.09am (8.09am UK time).

Don’t miss next week’s issue of H&H for extensive coverage from the European Dressage, Para Dressage and Showjumping Championships, out 29 August.