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YR news: Pony riders aim for medals

Show jumping

The British Pony team for the European Show Jumping Championships in Saumur, France has been named.

Matthew Sampson (Lakeland Little Wonder), Louise Saywell (Kadia Mouche), Rebecca Roe (Arolodo), Daniel Neilson (Micklow Madness) and Brett Gardner (Frere Jacques) will be aiming to emulate last year’s squad who won individual gold and team silver.

Dressage

The British Dressage squad for the pony European Championship squads is Samantha Harrison (Manitu); Keri Bates (DHI Peppino); Alice Thompson (Donnerblitz) and Natasha Leek (Langar).

It is Keri’s first European Championships. “I was shocked when I found out,” she said. “We’ve got a really strong team and I think we’ll get a medal, definitely.”

Eventing

The members of the British pony eventing squad will all be wearing the Union Jack for the first time, although two ponies are returning to the squad.

Newly crowned champions Libby Soley and Noble Springbok head the team. The combination has been almost unbeatable this season. Noble Springbok was the star of last year’s squad when ridden by Laura Collett, collecting team gold and individual bronze.

Runners-up Amy Hawley and Billy Joe Bob also secure a squad place. Billy Joe Bob is an experienced campaigner, having been runner-up at Sansaw twice and on the squad in ’03 and ’04.

The remaining squad places are taken by Sienna Myson-Davies with Welton Jazz, Chloe Kirkpatrick with Puzzle IV and Annabelle James with Majic Mouse. Michelle Chalmers riding Juno II and Katie Kneen and Springtime Winnie the Pooh are reserves.

Horseball

Britain’s eight-strong team for the third European Horseball Pony Championships is determined to bring home a medal at the competition, which runs alongside the dressage, show jumping and eventing pony championships at Saumur, from 23-30 July.

“We’ll definitely do better than last time,” said Rochelle Plumb, 16, who was also in the team that came fifth at last year’s championships in Rome. “This time we’re more experienced and we know what we’re up against.”

Rochelle’s team-mate Alex Hatton, 14, echoed her thoughts: “We will definitely be aiming for a medal. It will be tough, but we’re all working hard.”

Three more members of the 2005 team play this time: captain Ben Berry, 16, Jamie Gibson, 16, and Michael Barton, 14. Three team newcomers make up the eight players: they are Ashleigh Bailey, 14, Jessica Marshall, 14 and Kelly-Anne Rees, 15. Eight nations will be at the championships.

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