‘Not the best of days’: British team reflect on day one of European Showjumping Championships

  • Rising showjumping star Harry Charles and his super consistent partner Casquo Blue jumped the best round from Great Britain on day one of the European Showjumping Championships at the San Siro racecourse in Milan, Italy (30 August-3 September).

    The pair just picked up four faults at the problematic Longines oxer, but their high-speed round put them into 22nd position individually at the close of the first qualifier for teams and individuals at the European Showjumping Championships.

    The same score came next from Great Britain’s anchorman Ben Maher with Faltic HB, albeit in a slower time that placed the reigning Olympic champion nine positions behind his team-mate. When combined with the eight-fault round from pathfinder Sam Hutton, while Tim Gredley’s 12-fault performance being the drop score, the British team finished the opening day sitting in 10th place, around three fences behind leaders Sweden.

    “It felt alright, it didn’t feel amazing though,” said Harry, 24, a veteran of two championships but at his first with the Stall Zet-owned Casquo Blue. “It was pretty hard work for a 1.50m class with the ground in there.”

    European Showjumping Championships: “There’s still a lot to play for”

    Harry continued: “Obviously the team is not having the best of days but we’ve got Olympic qualification in the bag, so the pressure was a little bit off at this championship. We did still want to come and do well obviously, but the first day is always… not the least important, but you know, it’s not all lost on the first day, so there’s still a lot to pay for with two bigger rounds tomorrow and Friday, which makes it more about jumping. So we’ll see what we can do. Today would have been a lot better without that fence!”

    Harry revealed that he had reverted to plan B after the pole fell.

    “I walked two courses – one if I had a fence down and one if I was clear, so I quickly activated the second plan and I took a stride out to the double of oxers,” explained Harry, who was part of the bronze medal winning British team at last year’s world showjumping championships. “So I kept myself not too far down the rankings list, which was good.

    “Casquo Blue is a very brave and bold horse. So this ring suits him. They’re feeling the ground underneath them a bit, especially towards the end of the class, which is not ideal on the first day.”

    Ben Maher, who faulted at the same Longines oxer with Faltic HB, added: “I was happy enough with my round, it went relatively to plan. He’s not the fastest horse so I tried to take some time where I could. It’s not the perfect start but we try again tomorrow.”

    Great Britain’s individual contender at the 2023 European Showjumping Championships, Donald Whitaker with Di Caprio, finished the day in 50th position.

    “He’s a very solid horse but it’s a new championships for him and me,” said Germany-based Donald, part of the famous Whitaker showjumping family. “You’re only here with one horse so there’s a lot of waiting around to do for 80 seconds in the ring! So then the adrenaline is all at once and then you can’t wait to get back in there again.”

    Horse & Hound has a team of reporters covering all the European showjumping action. To keep reading on our website after five articles, readers will need to buy a subscription. Visit horseandhound.co.uk/join to buy a Horse & Hound website unlimited subscription or, for great value, visit magazinesdirect.com for a combined magazine and website subscription. If you are already a magazine subscriber, the cost to upgrade your subscription to include full website access is minimal – call 0330 333 1113 to find out more.

    You may also be interested to read…

    You may like...