Cross-country day at the eventing FEI European Championships saw some fantastic performances from all six British riders, to see Great Britain head into tomorrow’s showjumping phase leading the team competition, with four athletes – Nicola Wilson, Gemma Tattersall, Tina Cook and Rosalind Canter – featuring in the top eight of the individual standings.
First out on course, Oliver Townend with Angela Hislop’s Cooley SRS, got the British team off to a good start. Two refusals on course and time penalties saw them finish on 85 penalties.
Oliver said: “He just went a bit green; he’s still young and just got a little overawed by the crowd. It’s disappointing but at the same time it was good to get back for the team.”
Championship debutant Ros Canter with Caroline Moore and her own Allstar B, were next on course, and produced a stunning round to go clear, just 4 seconds over the time, giving them a total score of 40.2 penalties.
Ros said: “It feels amazing; I owe so much to my horse. He’s a big strong horse, he always makes me work hard but he’s so honest and such an amazing jumper. My aim was to go clear inside the time and I’m very delighted with how we went. He’s just the most phenomenal horse.”
Next up for GB was Piggy French with Jayne McGivern’s Quarrycrest Echo. Putting the disappointment of the dressage behind her, Piggy had a superb round but was unlucky to have one refusal and incur time penalties to see her finish on a score of 83.4 penalties.
Piggy said afterwards: “He was amazing and I’m really pleased with him. He just started to get a bit tired before and I think I just went slightly to the left [on fence 24] and the reaction wasn’t there. The rest of the round was fab; it would definitely have been his toughest test to date.”
Tina Cook produced a flawless jumping round aboard Elisabeth Murdoch and Keith Tyson’s Billy The Red, for a clear round inside the time, to leave them on 38.2 penalties.
“The team needed a clear round and I’m delighted that we delivered that,” said Tina, “I have every belief in this horse. He is careful but he is sharp and a million per cent genuine. He’s only 10, so still young at this level, but it’s another horse I’ve produced to top level and I’m thrilled.”
Lying in fourth place overnight, Gemma Tattersall with The Pebbles Syndicate’s Quicklook V produced yet another fantastic round, finishing clear, just nine seconds over the time allowed for a score of 36.7 penalties.
An ecstatic Gemma said; “I'm absolutely over the moon with my horse; she dug so deep and tried so hard. She just got a bit tired at the end and we lost a few seconds there. She gave me the most wonderful ride; she's such a wonderful little horse. I could not have asked for more.”
Final rider up for Great Britain, Nicola Wilson with James and Jo Lambert’s Bulana had everyone on the edge of their seats as they stormed round the cross-country course. As they came to the last fence they were just one second over the time allowed, to finish as the leading British rider with 35.5 penalties.
“I'm so delighted,” commented Nicola, “she tried so hard and I had to rely on her jumping ability and her honesty. She just gets better and better. It's been a fantastic team result today and it's a great position to be in two thirds of the way through the competition.”
At this point, Great Britain lead the team event, with Germany second and Sweden third. Individually, Ingrid Klimke heads the leaderboard, with Great Britain’s athletes occupying fourth (Nicola Wilson), fifth (Gemma Tattersall), sixth (Tina Cook), eighth (Ros Canter), 35th (Piggy French) and 39th (Oliver Townend).
The final phase of the competition, the showjumping, will see the team and individual medals decided tomorrow.
The British senior teams are supported by the BEF’s UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme.
Where to watch?
Live results can be found online at: http://www.results.strzegom2017.pl/live/leaderboard01.html
Information on where you can watch the event can be found online at: http://www.equestrianteamgbr.co.uk/news/european-championships-where-to-watch/