First British team member Pippa Funnell scored 35.4 for her dressage test at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships this morning (Thursday, 29 August).
Pippa’s ride, her own and Marek Sebastak’s Majas Hope, is not the easiest on the flat — this was the reason she was originally a reserve for the British squad and only received the call-up to come to Luhmühlen on Sunday when Tom McEwen had to withdraw Toledo De Kerser.
“We know Majas Hope is Majas Hope and he’s very difficult in this phase — he struggles with going into the arena and shrinking a bit,” said Pippa after her test.
“We know it’s his weakest phase and hopefully he’ll do his bit on Saturday and Sunday. You can’t turn horses into Valegros if they’re not built to be Valegros.”
Majas Hope scored his best marks in the early trot work, but tension in the walk section proved expensive, as did the flying changes.
Pippa is currently in 11th place after the first morning of action and the Brits will hope this will be their team’s discard score after this phase.
Irish pathfinder Ciaran Glynn and November Night sit just behind Pippa on 35.5.
“It’s probably the best piece of work she’s put down at this level in the ring,” he said. “I’d have liked a few more marks, but it’s a solid start for the team.”
Belgian riders dominate the top of the leaderboard at this early stage, with the experienced Karin Donckers (Fletcha Van’t Verahof) sharing first place with her compatriot Laura Loge (Absolut Allegro), who is a senior championship debutante. Both scored 28.8.
“I’m pleased — the walk could have been better and I was a bit conservative in the last flying change, but I can’t blame the horse — if there were things to improve it was me! He was really focused, relaxed and rideable,” said Karin.
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The first German team member, Andreas Dibowski on FRH Corrida, was pleased with his test, but disappointed with his mark of 34.6.
“She was with me, calm, I could ride her and I didn’t feel any mistakes,” he said.
Check back for more updates from the Eventing European Championships in Luhmühlen all week, plus full report in next week’s Horse & Houndmagazine (dated 5 September).