Julie Payne claims individual European gold for Britain

  • Britain has rounded off a successful first day at the Para Dressage European Championships, with individual gold and silver medals to add to this morning’s gold and bronze.

    At her first championship, Julie Payne produced a beautiful grade I test with Di Redfern’s Athene Lindebjerg, claiming the individual gold medal with a fantastic score of 77.64%. The 10-year-old mare (Gribaldi x Diamant) is no stranger to a championship arena, having won triple gold in Rio with Sophie Christiansen, and she produced another stunning performance here.

    “That was the best test I’ve done on her, and one of the best feelings I have ever had. It’s the best adrenaline rush I’ve had since I was eventing,” said Julie, who suffers with multiple system atrophy. “This takes me back to when I was a little girl and I told my parents that one day I would ride at a major championship.

    “It’s the biggest dream in the world and it hasn’t sunk in yet.”

    Germany’s Elke Philipp and Regaliz took silver, with Latvian pair Rihards Snikus and King Of The Dance in bronze.

    Continued below…

    More from the Europeans…

    Sophie Wells added to Britain’s growing collection of silverware with grade V silver on her own and Charlotte Hogg’s C Fatal Attraction. The 10-year-old ‘“Jorge” (Fidertanz x Olivi) was very much on his toes but held it together to score 71.78%, slotting in behind Frank Hosmar and Alphaville NOP of The Netherlands in gold (72.42%).

    “He got quite nervous when he went in — the arena felt quite buzzy — so I felt I was sat on a bit of an exploding rocket, but he stayed with me and we got through it,” said Sophie. “I couldn’t show him off in the way you want to at a championship but it’s just his inexperience showing, and he usually gets better as he goes through a competition.”

    Nicole Geiger and Phal De Lafayette took the bronze medal for Switzerland.

    This follows gold and bronze for Britain in the grade III individual championship, with Suzanna Hext taking the top spot on Abira, and Erin Orford also making the podium with Dior.

    All four Brits will be back in action tomorrow (Wednesday, 22 August), competing for the team medals. Britain has won gold at every para dressage championship to date.

    Buy the current issue of H&H (dated 17 August) for our full European Championships preview in dressage, para dressage and showjumping, including full analysis of the British chances and the opposition, plus timetable and how to follow.Don’t forget to pick up next week’s issue (out 31 August) for the full report from the dressage, para dressage and showjumping.

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