Britain’s junior eventers clinch team bronze: drama in young rider competition

  • Britain’s junior event riders fought gallantly to maintain their team bronze medal position at the Junior European Eventing Championships in Montelibretti, Italy today (25 September).

    First to jump for the team was Isabelle (Bubby) Upton riding her mother’s seven-year-old Eros DHI. The pair jumped a clear round but picked up two time-faults.

    Bubby burst into tears upon exiting the arena.

    These are happy tears,” she laughed. “My horse hasn’t had the best season in the showjumping phase, but I knew if I did everything right we could jump a clear round. I’m so proud of him.” Bubby finished in 16th place individually.

    Championship debutante Felicity Collins (pictured) then jumped an immaculate clear round on the seven-year-old RSH Contend Or.

    “My horse was fresh and squealing in the warm-up and he went into the arena and was a bit spooky, but he just jumped higher. It’s great to be a counting score for the team,” said Felicity. The pair finished in a highly respectable ninth place individually.

    Next to go was individual rider Chelsea Pearce who again rode a beautiful clear round on Albert.

    “That was the best round he’s jumped this season and I’m delighted with how he has performed all week,” said Chelsea who finished best of the Brits in eighth place.

    Team rider Phoebe Locke was unlucky to have fence four down to drop from seventh to 11th place individually.

    “It was my fault,” said a gutted Phoebe.

    Final team rider Richard Coney had the final fence down plus one time-fault to finish in 13th place on Kananaskis.

    “I thought we jumped a good round and overall I’m pleased with how my horse has gone this week,” said Richard.

    Germany won the team competition just 4.7 penalties ahead of second placed France who were over 12 penalties ahead of Britain.

    Anais Neumann won individual gold, finishing on her dressage score of 38.5 on Pumuckel E after the cross-country leader, Jerome Robine also of Germany, had three fences down, dropping him to seventh place.

    Frenchman Victor Levecque won silver on Phunambule Des Auges and a delighted Sofia Sjoborg, a British-based Swede took individual bronze riding DHI Mighty Dwight.

    Young rider final fence drama

    The young rider team and individual competition went down to the wire, with medals being decided right up until the final rider jumped the final fence in the showjumping.

    The course produced only four clears inside the time and was the undoing of the German team who had a 10.4 penalty lead over the French going into the showjumping.

    Marie Charlotte Fuss of France rose from individual 10th to gold thanks to a clear showjumping round on Sillas De La Nee. Her team mate Alexis Goury had one fence down on Trompe L’Oeil D’Emery and Victor Burtin had two fences down on Early Van Ter Nieuwbeke, but it was enough to take team gold by nearly nine penalties.

    Cross-country leader Marie-Sophie Arnold had two fences in hand to maintain her gold medal position on Remember Me 74, but when she had three fences down, including the final fence, she passed victory to Marie Charlotte, and dropped to individual fourth.

    German individual Hella Meise had one fence down on First Flight’s Beauty to clinch silver, while one fence down was enough for Frenchman Alexis Goury to take home bronze.

    Britain’s three remaining riders in the competition rode classy rounds, all jumping clear.

    India Wishart incurred one time-fault on The Masters Harry to finish best of the Brits in ninth place.

    “He’s such a good boy,” smiled India. “The one time-fault is annoying but I wanted to do our best and I think we did that.”

    Rocky Rockstar, the mount of Ella Hitchman, never looked like touching a pole to finish in 13th place.

    “That’s not a bad place for us to jump our first clear round this year is it?” laughed Ella. “I was shaking when I put Rocky’s boots on as I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform but he was amazing.”

    Katie Bleloch incurred two time-faults on Bulano to finish in eventual 16th.

    “I’m delighted,” said Katie. “Bulano felt a million dollars this morning and he jumped his socks off.”

    Despite only finishing with two team members, following the retirement of Will Furlong on the cross-country and the withdrawal of Sam Ecroyd and Opera House before the final trot-up, the British team finished in fifth on a score of 1,123.8 (1,000 penalties are given to a team per eliminated rider) behind Italy in bronze and Belgium in fourth.

    For a full report from the Junior and Young Rider Eventing Championships, don’t miss next week’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (29 September).

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