Still all to play for after cross-country at Junior European Eventing Championships

The NAF British junior eventing team put in some great performances to remain in contention for team and individual medals on cross-country day at the FEI Junior European Eventing Championships today (13 July).

Two standout rounds for Team GB came from Leilia Paske and Georgia Bartlett, who now sit in fifth and sixth place respectively.

“Once I got out there it was really great,” said Leilia of the Paske Syndicate’s Billy Mcfee, a 10-year-old mare (pictured). “I was held for 10 minutes at fence 12 which was fine but it’s always a bit annoying as you just want to get home. My horse was such a good girl and I was really pleased with her — she’s not naturally quick but we still managed to get home 20 seconds inside the optimum time.”

Georgia was equally as pleased with her 13-year-old gelding, Spano de Nazca.

“He was amazing all the way round. It was a different course to usual but he really enjoyed it,” said Georgia, who is 18 and has just finished her A-Levels. “A lot of the track ran through the woods so fences came up much quicker than expected and a lot were off tight turns — it was definitely tougher than last year’s European track in Fontainebleau so I just tried to stay focussed.”

Saffie Osborne, who was in individual silver medal position after the dressage, dropped out of contention after incurring 20 penalties with Lakantus.

“He was awesome, I couldn’t fault him, we just had a really unfortunate blip at fence 5A where he just didn’t see it — we came down to it quite strong and he didn’t lock on,” explained Saffie, who still sits in the top 50% of cross-country finishers.

Elicia Miller put in a great round, going out first for the British team, finishing inside the optimum time with A Sunny Bay, and is in 24th place going into the final showjumping phase.

The British team have dropped one place to bronze, but are just .1 of a penalty behind Ireland in silver.

Lilly Keogh is best of the Irish in fourth with Master Tredstep, finishing on their 28.8 dressage.

“He’s an expert — he feels like a four-year-old and cruised round,” said Lilly of the 17-year-old gelding with whom her father, Aiden competed to five-star. “I started riding him in November as I couldn’t find a junior horse and my dad had retired him from top level eventing — I was just exercising him at the time and dad said ‘sure, go on and see what happens’, so I’m very lucky.”

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Germany sit in team gold medal position with a 14.1 lead over Ireland, with two of their team members occupying individual gold and silver positions — Anna Lena Schaaf and Fairytale 39 and Ann-Catrin Bierlein with Auf Geht’s Fraeulain Hummel. Jeanna Chauvel and Iggy Pop are in bronze for France.

The final horse inspection commences tomorrow morning at 7am (BST), with the showjumping starting at 9.30am (BST).

Keep up-to-date with all the action from the championships at horseandhound.co.uk, plus don’t miss the full report in Horse & Hound magazine, out on 26 July.