Britain’s young rider eventing squad picked up team gold, plus individual gold and silver, at their European Championships in Strzegom, Poland, last week (27-30 August).
“As a squad of six, the riders all gelled and thrived off each other,” said team coach Emma Fisher. “They went out there with a plan, which we’d worked out before we left. They stuck to their plan and it all came together.
“It was a very special moment to win three medals — the squad deserved it, having led from start to finish.”
The Askham Bryan-sponsored squad were led by Will Furlong, 20, who held pole position from start to finish to take the individual gold on his own Livingstone II.
Will had a dressage score of 32.7 and added just two time-faults across country on the 12-year-old by Zimbabwe.
“It was a lovely event. We knew it would be of a high standard as they ran a Nations Cup event there earlier this year and it didn’t disappoint,” said Will.
“Livingstone is very flamboyant with lovely paces, but he was very rideable in the dressage and listened to me.
“There were a lot of combinations across country where you could be caught out.
“The showjumping wasn’t massive, but again it was technical and it caused its fair share of problems. I was over the moon with my horse’s double clear — I couldn’t have asked for more.”
Will is Britain’s first male young rider European champion since Terry Boon in 1993, and Britain’s first individual gold medallist of either gender at the championships since Emily Parker took the accolade in 2010. Team GBR’s last eventing team gold at young riders was in 2011.
Britain’s other team gold medallists were Ella Hitchman, who just missed out on individual bronze with fourth on Rocky Rockstar, Isabella Innes Ker (eighth on her dressage score with Carolyn) and pathfinder Emily King, 13th on Loxley.
British individual rider Sophie Beaty also held her position throughout to claim the silver with her own and Alison Booth’s Stanly. Her dressage mark was 36.3 and she had 2.8 time-penalties on the cross-country.
Britain’s riders all finished in the money as the other individual, Katie Bleloch, was 15th on Bulano.
Germany’s Christoph Wahler moved up from seventh after dressage to take the bronze on Green Mount Flight.
Germany also stayed in team silver throughout, while Ireland moved up from fourth after dressage to collect team bronze.
The Irish team’s counting scores came from Cathal Daniels (sixth on Rioghan Rua), Susannah Berry (14th on Carsonstown Athena), Tony Kennedy (24th on the one-eyed Westeria Lane). Their fourth rider was Harold Megahey, who has strong championship form with Chuckelberry but was eliminated on this occasion after an error of course across country.
Don’t miss the full report in H&H next week, out Thursday, 10 September.