British pony pairs driver Anna Grayston has won individual gold at the FEI world driving championship for ponies in Breda, Netherlands (2-6 September).
Partnered by her experienced Welsh section D pair Kings Irish Son and Bluewillow Johnny Reb, Anna took an initial close second place in the dressage.
A sixth placing in the marathon — using third pony Kings Blaze — saw her move up to a comfortable overnight lead going into the final cones phase.
A technical cones course proved highly influential, with Christof Weihe (GER) dropping from second place with an expensive 20 penalties.
Anna’s performance in the cones was good enough to retain pole position on the podium, finishing 4.34 faults ahead of German driver Jan-Felix Pfeffer.
“I didn’t know how much I had in hand so I only knew that I had won when I came out of the arena,” Anna said.
This was 43-year-old Anna’s fourth consecutive championship representing Team GBR in the pony pairs.
She collected her first individual medal when she took bronze in Pau, France, in 2013.
The Kent-based carriage driving coach has previously been a national title holder in every division — single, pair, tandem and team.
Solid performances across the board from the British squad of Anna, Alan Clarke and Roger Campbell (pony pairs); Rosanna Walters-Symons, Robert Buck and Sue Mart (pony singles) and Sara Howe and Joanna Broadbent (pony fours) helped them secure team bronze.
The new team format was used for the first time at this year’s championships.
Squads were made up of two or three singles, two or three pairs and one or two four-in-hands.
The scores per phase of the two best singles, two pairs and one four-in-hand counting towards the team result.
Rosanna, who was a silver medallist at the 2013 championships, finished two penalties outside of a podium placing to collect fourth in the singles with her familiar international partner, 18-year-old Welsh section D Dabernon Tiger Woods.
Roger Campbell also climbed up the leaderboard after a disappointing dressage to post individual sixth in the pairs, while Sara Howe was best of the British pony fours drivers with her Welsh section A team in midfield 10th.
The Netherlands collected a second consecutive team gold, aided by another superb performance from Bram Chardon, who also retained his world championship title in the pony fours.
Fabian Gänshirt (David L) helped his country towards team silver as he took gold for Germany in the pony singles on his world championship debut.
See next week’s H&H out 17 September for the full report.