Northamptonshire-based Joe who, at the age of 21, is the youngest athlete at the 2021 European Showjumping Championships, had put in a brilliant performance on day one to come home with just four faults.
Today, he rode another beautifully judged round, only to hit both back rails at the double of oxers in the home straight of Frank Rothenberger’s 1.60m track riding the 10-year-old mare Equine America Cacharel. The judge walked over to the water jump to check the tape, but fortunately the pair had not touched it.
“I’m gutted. That wasn’t an eight-fault round,” said Joe. “I think I think she jumped a lot better than that. But it is what it is.”
A lot of horses have been looking tired towards the end of Thursday’s testing course.
“You’re always trying to keep them active and lighter around the course like this – it’s a long course,” said Joe. “It’s big jumping everywhere – big, careful jumps.
“I think the course-builder has been very clever where he’s placed certain fences – having a short line to a big double of oxers has obviously caught me out and I’m sure a couple of others as well. There’s probably one opportunity in the whole course where you really had a chance to breathe and the rest of it was bang, bang, bang. It’s just that next level up again, isn’t it?”
Joe, who is trained by the 2013 European Showjumping Championships team gold medallist William Funnell, adds this score of eight to yesterday’s total of four to finish day two on an individual score of 12.
“This has been a big learning curve, I think for all of us and the horses,” he said. “There’s a lot I can take away from it so far. The course is bigger again, it’s tougher again, it’s harder on them in every single way. This is a very different environment.”
The team medals are decided amongst the top 10 nations in Friday’s final with the individual competition for the European Showjumping Championships concluding on Sunday (5 September).
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