‘Dream come true’: mother and daughter to compete alongside at Europeans

A mother and daughter are among the British squad who will compete at the European endurance championships at Euston Park, Suffolk on 17 August.

Endurance GB announced the combinations for the 160km ride following a final assessment of horses at Warwick International School of Riding on Sunday, 4 August.

The five-strong line-up includes Lancashire-based Rachael Atkinson, 51, and her daughter Kate, 22, who will be making her senior team debut after stepping-up from young riders. It will be the first time a mother and daughter have competed on a senior British endurance team.

Alongside Kate, who will be riding her own 12-year-old Arab gelding DNS Ronaldo, the remaining team members are experienced combinations with a track record of championship completions.

They are Rachael, riding her own Tannasg Psyches Realm, an 11-year-old chesnut Arab gelding; Annette Masterson with her own Shoshana, a 15-year-old, chestnut Arab mare; Sarah Rogerson with her own and Rachael Cratchley’s Warrens Hill Rubyn, a 12-year-old grey Arab gelding and Nicola Thorne with her own LM Bolena, a 14-year-old chestnut Arab mare.

Supporting the squad are chef d’equipe Liz Finney, team vet Georgina Vaughan, team farrier Kelvin Lymer and team physio Sam Daplyn.

Endurance GB chairman Rebecca Kinnarney said: “We would like to congratulate all the riders and wish them and their crews every success at Euston Park; ­ the whole of Endurance GB will be rooting for them.

“Endurance is truly a family sport and multi-generational participation by the whole family whether as rider, crew or trainer is common. It is not unusual to see mothers, daughters and sometimes sons taking part in rides together, often with dads crewing.

“However, for the Atkinson family to get two human and equine athletes qualified and on top form for a championship event such as the Europeans is an exceptional achievement.”

Rachael, who runs an equine rehabilitation centre, said the mother-daughter selection was a “dream come true”.

“To have my best friend alongside me at a home championship will be my greatest accomplishment. We have joked about it in the past and now it has become a reality and I could not be prouder of our little team,” she said.

Fourth-year Liverpool veterinary student Kate added that she had been following in her mum’s footsteps in the endurance world since she was seven years old.

“Being shortlisted for a championship on home soil is a wonderful feeling, especially as it is my first year on the senior team,” she said. “I am looking forward to competing alongside my mum, it will be incredible if we can both complete the ride together.”

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The Euston Park ride will be the first FEI European endurance championship to be held in the UK since the Southwell, Nottinghamshire in 1993 — where Britain won both team and individual gold medals. It forms part of the HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum UK Endurance Festival (15-19 August 2019).

The event, organised by the HPower Group and sponsored by Meydan, also features the Pony Club national championships and an FEI CEIO2* 120km nations cup competition, as well as national rides. It is expected to attract riders from around 40 countries with more than 600 horses taking part over the four days.

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