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‘It feels good to support the sport’: Britain’s sole championship riders for 2020 named

Five riders will represent Britain at the youth European dressage championships this month, the only Brits to compete at a championship this year.

The Europeans for ponies, children-on-horses, juniors, young riders and under-25s will all take place at Pilisjaszfalu near Budapest in Hungary, from 11-27 August.

The venue was originally set to host the children and under-25 championships, but after the cancellation of the junior and young rider championships at Hartpury in Britain, and the pony championship at Strzegom, Poland, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Hungarian organisers and national federation offered to host the additional categories.

While British Dressage opted not to send any teams to this year’s combined championships, riders were given the opportunity to put themselves forward to compete as individuals on a self-funded basis.

In the under-25 section, Britain will be represented by Lewis Carrier riding his own 12-year-old Spielberg gelding Diego V, and Ellie McCarthy with Bridget McCarthy’s 15-year-old Lordanos stallion Sir Lancelot M.

Competing in young riders will be Emily Bradshaw on Susan Bradshaw’s 11-year-old Apache gelding Enjoy Amaris V and Alicia Lee riding her own 11-year-old Benetton Dream mare Bonita 466, while Annabella Pidgeley will contest the pony championship on Sarah Pidgeley’s 12-year-old FS Chambertin gelding Cognac IX.

There are no Brits travelling to compete in the children-on-horses or junior sections.

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“When the opportunity came up to go to Hungary, I really wanted to take it and support the venue who are making such a huge effort, especially as we haven’t been able to do much other competing this year,” 23-year-old Lewis told H&H.

“I’ve kept up the training throughout lockdown; I made the most of the opportunity not to work flat out and instead focused on more training at home. We’ve kept Diego ticking over, and it’s been a good time to reflect on our training and try some new things. When we made the decision to campaign to go to Hungary we just stepped up that training, and recently we have been able to get out to some shows to do a couple of grands prix, which went really well.”

The championships will be run in accordance with the FEI Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the Covid-19 Pandemic, with measures in place including social distancing and temperature screening.

“Covid is definitely on my mind, and we will all have to be sensible, plan ahead and take plenty of precautions, but I’m not worried,” added Lewis, who will leave on the three-day journey to Hungary this Wednesday (12 August). “It feels really good to support the sport, and not to write off the whole year.”

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