Fantastic performances from Great Britain’s dressage riders in today’s Grand Prix Special test at the Longines FEI European Championships saw Carl Hester and Spencer Wilton finish fifth and sixth in the standings against the best in Europe, to progress to tomorrow’s Freestyle competition.
First up this morning for Great Britain was Spencer Wilton with Super Nova II, owned by Jen Goodman. Producing some superb work throughout the test to see some high scores awarded, he was unlucky to have a slight mistake, for a final score of 76.078%.
“I’m just delighted; really, really pleased,” commented Spencer. “Apart from a mistake in the ones on the centre line, he was great. As a rider, that’s all I can ask for; I’m really pleased it’s a great mark – and to get that mark with a mistake, with still bits I can improve on, is really good. I had such a good feeling in there today compared with Wednesday.”
Emile Faurie with Elena Knyaginicheva’s Lollipop 126 delivered a lovely test, at only their second ever Grand Prix Special. With just a mistake creeping into the ones, a score of 70.840% was confirmed for the duo.
Speaking afterwards, Emile said: “He’s inexperienced at this level but I’m delighted with him, he’s only ever done one Special before. He was a little bit more alert in there today and he caught me out a bit in the ones, he just felt a bit ahead of me, and he didn’t really swing into the piaffe today. It’s disappointing but that’s how it goes. I love riding him; he’s a great horse.”
Final rider for Great Britain was Carl Hester, with Jane de la Mare and his own Nip Tuck. Producing some lovely work throughout the test, their first Grand Prix Special ride since Rio, they were rewarded with a top five finish, and a score of 76.722%.
Carl said of Nip Tuck: “I couldn’t be more happy with him. He had better extensions today and was so nice to ride. He’s done really well and he did some beautiful pirouettes; he’s just so genuine and he was so with me today. My dream was to get into the top five today.”
The final individual standings saw Germany’s Isabell Werth and Sönke Rothenberger take the gold and silver, with Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour claiming bronze. Finishing fifth and sixth, Great Britain’s Carl Hester and Spencer Wilton both progress to tomorrow’s Grand Prix Freestyle. With the top 15 through to tomorrow’s final event, Emile Faurie just misses out, finishing in 20th place.
The British senior teams are supported by the BEF’s UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme.