After a nail-biting finish, Ireland won her first ever team gold medal at last weekend’s European Show Jumping Championship in Arnhem, Holland.
The team of Dermott Lennon (Liscalgot), Jessica Kurten (Bonita), Peter Charles (Traxdata Corrada) and Kevin Babington (Carling King) beat the Swedish team by just 1.15 faults, with the defending champions from Germany having to settle for bronze this time.
It was still nip and tuck until the final Irish round from Dermott Lennon, who had to jump a clear to win, which the Irish-bred mare, Liscalgot, duly produced.
Equestrian Federation of Ireland president, Avril Doyle, said: “I am delighted at this historic European Championships win. I am also extremely proud that they will bring a Gold Medal home to Ireland from this most prestigious international event.
“With a first place in the Nations Cup series last year, and now a Gold Medal in the European Championships, Ireland’s most successful athletes are its equestrians.”
Britain’s team of Di Lampard (Abbervail Dream), Mark Armstrong (Elise), Scott Smith (Cabri D’Elle) and Michael Whitaker (Prince of Wales FCS) did not enjoy the rub of the green. Four disappointing performancesin the opening speed leg left them with no chance and they ended up in a disappointing ninth place overall.
Di Lampard was our only rider in the individual final and she retired after Abbervail Dream lowered two fences in the first round.
Coming into the final round, home favourite Wout-Jan van der Schans, a former eventer who lives next door to the showground, led by just 0.7 penalties from the mighty German combination of Ludger Beerbaum and Gladdys S.
However, things went completely wrong at the last gasp for Wout-Jan, who was competing with a broken collar bone. His lovely grey stallion, Broere VDL Corland, hit four fences, which dropped him down to ninth.
This meant yet another gold medal for world number one Ludger Beerbaum, with Belgium’s Ludo Philippaerts (Verelst Otterongo) and Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (Isovlas Pialotta) moving up the order to take silver and bronze.
See Horse & Hound issue dated 5 July for full report.