Britain took the team silver medal in a tight finish at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships in Luhmühlen, Germany today (Sunday, 1 September).
By the time Team GBR’s final rider, Oliver Townend entered the arena with Angela Hislop’s Cooley Master Class, he had to jump clear to guarantee the silver. But the horse ended up blundering through the plank at fence eight, briefly dropping Britain to bronze.
But when France’s Thibaut Vallette had the oxer at fence five down, France dropped out the medal reckoning altogether and Britain was back up to silver.
“I’m very disappointed to have the plank down, especially in that fashion, but for the team it’s a fantastic result,” said Oliver.
Piggy French and Pippa Funnell, who provided Britain’s other two counting scores, also had a fence down apiece today.
“I thought it was a bit small when I walked the course and it felt like it took him six fences to wake up,” said Piggy, who had the second part of the double at fence four down on Jayne McGivern’s Quarrycrest Echo.
Pippa took out the first part of the double at fence 10 on her own and Marek Sebastak’s Majas Hope, as did many riders.
“I should have jumped clear — any horse can have one down, but it’s just frustrating,” she said.
Individual rider Kitty King finished best of the Brits in seventh with Diana Bown, Sally Eyre, Samantha Wilson and Sally Lloyd-Baker’s Vendredi Biats. She showjumped clear today.
“I’m just delighted with him, he went so well in there,” she said.
Germany took the team gold and the top two individual medals, but Ingrid Klimke and Michael Jung swapped places when overnight leader Michael had the fence 10b down on FischerChipmunk FRH and slipped to silver, handing gold to Ingrid and SAP Hale Bob OLD.
Ingrid becomes the second rider to win the European Championship individual title in back to back runnings on the same horse. The first was Pippa Funnell.
“Bobby is so wonderful — he jumped so well,” said Ingrid. “My jumping trainer and I walked course together like we did two years before in Strzegom so I felt really secure and safe, so everything was perfect.”
Ireland’s Cathal Daniels’ clear today earned him his first individual senior medal, a bronze, with the fabulous mare Rioghan Rua.
“The whole week went to plan — which was to finish on our dressage score — so I’m very happy,” he said.
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Tina Cook, who was Britain’s discard score after her run-out across country yesterday, jumped clear on Elisabeth Murdoch and Keith Tyson’s Billy The Red.
“He is a brilliant jumper and nearly always goes clear,” she said.
Check back for final stories from the Eventing European Championships in Luhmühlen later today, plus full report in next week’s Horse & Hound magazine (dated 5 September), including exclusive opinion from ground jury president Martin Plewa and Mark Phillips.