Sophie Wells has added another medal to Britain’s European Championships haul, with silver in the grade V individual para championship.
Sophie and the 12-year-old Fidertanz gelding C Fatal Attraction posted 75.6% to finish just 0.21% behind Frank Hosmar of the Netherlands, who rode Alphaville NOP into the gold medal spot.
Jorge didn’t give Sophie an easy time in the arena, eyeing the crowds and holding a bit of tension.
“He didn’t really notice it when we went in there, but then he looked around and thought, ‘there’s a few people here!’,” said Sophie, who was awarded a 10 for her super entry from the judge at C. “It’s a bit frustrating as of course I’d have liked to start off slightly better but we had no mistakes, so considering he was tense we did get through it.
“That’s horses isn’t it — predictability is not something we have. He always gets better as it goes on — by day three hopefully we will have got there.”
Britain’s other para competitor of the day, championship first-timer Nicky Greenhill, just missed a medal in the grade IV championship, finishing fourth with King Edward I.
Blind rider Nicky has had a challenging week so far, ending up in hospital after having an allergic reaction to a wasp sting, and dealing with uncertainty when her husband Gary, who calls the letters during her tests, lost his voice. Thankfully he regained it enough to call for her today, and despite Eddie being very on his toes, the combination posted a very respectable 69.53%.
“It’s been a challenging week and it’s not getting any less challenging yet,” said Nicky. “I actually had a great day training on Eddie yesterday so I was quite confident coming into today but then he was really tricky in the warm-up. He was very nervous, so to be honest I’m very grateful to have got in there and got round.
“I felt I couldn’t really let him go as I wouldn’t be able to stop,” she added. “But I just had to ride the horse I had on the day; he’ll learn from this and come back more confident. It’s only his second season doing para so he is quite inexperienced.”
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The grade IV gold medal went to Sanne Voets of the Netherlands with Demantur NOP, with Belgium’s Manon Claeys and San Dior picking up silver and Sweden’s Louise Etzner Jakobsson slotting into bronze with Zernard.
The para team competition begins tomorrow with riders in grades I to III, with reigning world champions Netherlands hoping to prevent Britain from retaining their European gold.
Don’t miss next week’s issue of H&H for extensive coverage from the European Dressage, Para Dressage and Showjumping Championships, out 29 August.