William Whitaker, Britain’s solo rider at the European Showjumping Championships, produced the first clear round during the second day of thrilling action in Gothenburg today (Thursday, 24 August).
Partnering Utamaro D’Ecaussines, the 28-year-old rider — who is making his debut at a senior championship — produced a flawless round early on to keep the pair on their score of 5.06 penalties after yesterday’s qualifying round.
“It was a tough course today — from the first fence to the last — the jumps were coming thick and fast at you and they were big, so I’m delighted with him,” said William.
“Now I just need to concentrate on tomorrow. He’s feeling fresh and was very well this morning when I took him out for exercise.
“The course has to be challenging, there are a lot of top riders and if it wasn’t tough they’d all just jump it with their eyes closed — it is the European Championships so that is what you have to expect,” he added.
“I was early to go today, so I didn’t have the luxury of watching other riders go — you get some feedback from riders at the ringside but I just had a plan of what to do that was best for him.”
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It means William and ‘Uta’ now have two clear rounds in the bag going into tomorrow’s second day of the team competition, in which all the individual riders will compete. The 13-year-old stallion — who is an experienced championship horse with his previous rider Joe Clee — is certainly jumping out of his skin so far at these European Championships.
Ireland currently sit in fourth in the team standings and the first Irish rider in today’s team competition is Shane Sweetnam, who is 47th to go.
Check out all the results from the 2017 European Championships here.
Don’t miss the full report from the dressage, para dressage and showjumping action from this week’s European Championships in Horse & Hound — including analysis, expert comments, pictures and more — on sale Thursday, 31 August.
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