The eventing FEI European Championships got underway today (17 August), with the first day of the dressage phase seeing Great Britain’s Oliver Townend, Rosalind Canter and Piggy French take to the arena to begin their championship campaigns.
With some strong tests produced, all three British riders currently feature within the top twenty athletes, with Rosalind Canter the highest placed British athlete after her test of 38.6 penalties put her into sixth place overnight.
Oliver Townend, with Angela Hislop’s Cooley SRS, was the first British athlete into the arena this morning. The combination produced a lovely test, to post a final score of 43.80 and get the team off to a good start.
He commented afterwards: “Cooley SRS is a very good horse, he’s only 10 years-old so he’s relatively inexperienced at this level – it’s his first championships. But I’m very pleased and proud of him, he just had the one mistake which proved costly.
“From a team point of view it’s a very good starting score and I think if we get everybody as near to that score, if not better, and complete on it then we’ll be doing very well”.
Next in for GBR was Rosalind Canter with Allstar B, owned by Caroline Moore and Rosalind. Making their championship debut, the duo produced a fantastic test with highlights coming through the transition and canter work to see them post a Personal Best, as a score of 38.6 penalties was confirmed.
Commenting afterwards, a delighted Ros said: “I’m really excited; I watched Julia’s [Krajewski] test this morning and thought it was beautiful, so I’m quite pleased I wasn’t too far behind her, and I’m excited to look back on my test.
“I have been fortunate enough to do some Nations Cups as part of the UK Sport Lottery funded team, and have been out here twice in a team situation before. He went in there and just really performed for me today.”
Piggy French was the final rider in for Great Britain this afternoon as the first day of dressage drew to a close. Producing a lovely test with Quarrycrest Echo, owned by Jayne McGivern, to finish on a score of 46.2 penalties.
Commenting afterwards, Piggy said; “I’m a bit gutted; this week really counts and I thought he was as good as he’s ever been; when he goes into canter he usual picks up the marks, but it was just a bit flat today. It’s disappointing but there’s lots more to come.”
Asked about her call-up to the squad this year, she added; “It’s really exciting to be back, it wasn’t the plan at the beginning of this year – if someone had told me six months ago I wouldn’t have believed it, but he’s earnt his place this year and I’m looking forward to the next couple of days.”
After today’s test, Germany’s Bettina Hoy (Seigneur Medicott) currently tops the scoreboard on 24.60 penalties; Ros sits in sixth with 38.60, Oliver is currently 12th on 43.80, with Piggy in 17th place on 46.20 penalties.
The British senior teams are supported by the BEF’s UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme.
Tomorrow sees the conclusion of the dressage, with Tina Cook, Nicola Wilson and Gemma Tattersall all set to get their championship campaigns underway.
Times for Friday (all BST)
10.11 – Tina Cook and Billy the Red
13.28 – Gemma Tattersall and Quicklook V
13.56 – Nicola Wilson and Bulana
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/