Britain’s Suzanna Hext concluded a dream debut championships when she claimed freestyle gold on the final day of the European Para Dressage Championships in Gothenburg.
H&H blogger Suzanna rode Pammy and Charlie Hutton’s Abira to a winning score of 76.4%, just ahead of Germany’s Stefan Zeibig and Feel Good on 76.17%. The gap between silver and bronze was even closer, with just 0.05% separating Stefan and Denmark’s Tobias Thorning Joergensen (Bruunholms Caribian).
This grade III freestyle title completes a hat-trick of golds for Suzanna, who also won the individual title on Monday to add to Britain’s team gold.
“My body wasn’t really on my side today but Abira was and he tried his heart out,” said Suzanna. “To come to my first championship was incredible on its own and to get three gold medals is just insane. It’s been such a long journey to get to this point, and so many people have been a part of it.”
Britain’s Erin Orford just missed out on a medal to add to her team gold and individual bronze, finishing fourth with Dior on 73.06%.
“She was very hot in there but really good,” reflected Erin, for whom this was also a first championships. “We had a couple of tiny mistakes, which were probably quite expensive. We lost a bit of fluency in the walk, which affected the circles afterwards, and we finished slightly ahead of the music.”
More from the Europeans…
An inexperienced British team clinch gold to maintain their unbeaten streak
Suzanna Hext and Erin Orford secure gold and bronze for Britain early on the first day of the Para Dressage
Julie Payne claims a second individual gold medal for Britain, with Sophie Wells taking silver
The grade II freestyle went to Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup, who produced a beautiful test with Horsebo Smarties to achieve one of the highest marks of the championships, 77.06%.
Nicole den Dulk took silver for The Netherlands with Wallace NOP, with Germany’s Alina Rosenberg (Nea’s Daboun) in bronze.
A notable absence from today’s grade II line-up was the individual champion Pepo Puch, whose 12-year-old Florencio I gelding Fontainenoir failed the horse inspection yesterday evening.
Julie Payne will perform her grade I freestyle at 11.20 BST, followed by Sophie Wells in the grade V at 14.50 BST.
Don’t miss the 31 August issue of Horse & Hound, with full reports, analysis and expert commentary from the dressage, para dressage and showjumping European Championships in Gothenburg.