The European Eventing Championships dressage is complete in Avenches, Switzerland, and the Irish are in 11th place going into tomorrow’s cross-country phase (25 September).
They sit on a team score of 94.6, with the British squad leading on 64.8, Germany in second on 69.7 and France third on 77.2. But it is all to play for still, with riders predicting that tomorrow’s twisty cross-county course will be influential.
Irish team rider, Clare Abbott, is highest-placed of their squad. She scored 30.4 in her test with the nine-year-old grey gelding Jewelent earlier this morning. This puts them in 31st place going into the cross-country.
“It was OK – he is only nine so I suppose I’m pleased. He has a really good temperament, so it’s just really a matter of working on his strength and balance and I’m gearing up to the bigger stuff,” Clare said afterwards. “There’s a lot to look forward to in the future.”
Fellow Irishman, Padraig McCarthy, was the last Irish rider to compete in the European Eventing Championships dressage. Riding the former Mark Todd campaigner Leonidas II, Padraig notched up a score of 33.1, which puts them into 47th place.
“His walk is always a little bit fragile and he made a mistake in each part of the walk, but I was otherwise very happy – I thought they were a bit harsh on him, to be honest,” Padraig said afterwards. “Obviously the judges didn’t like him – I thought the test was better than the mark he was given, but it is what it is.”
Padraig said Leonidas has been “working great” this week and that he was “pleased with everything except the mark”.
“I know his walk was difficult and there they are being strict with mistakes, but I still thought a mark of 33 didn’t really reflect the work that he did.”
The cross-country gets underway at 11am (10am BST) tomorrow morning, with Ireland’s Sam Watson third out on course with Ballybolger Talisman at 11.12am (10.12am BST).
You might also be interested in:
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.