European Championships – Day Five

22nd Aug 2019


Team GBR's dream of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is looking more and more like a reality. After the first round of the team competition, which saw Ben Maher with Explosion W and Holly Smith with Hearts Destiny pull off brilliant clear rounds, the squad are lying in bronze medal position with Belgium and Germany ahead of them. 

Ben Maher's quest for an individual medal is also going from strength to strength. This second consecutive clear round has propelled him to the top of the individual standings.  

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Para-equestrian dressage 

Nicky Greenhill is one of three British para-equestrian dressage riders competing here on their championship debut. Her journey to the Para Arena has been littered with difficulties, including a call-up for her reserve horse, King Edward I, a trip to hospital yesterday and a last-minute technical failing in the equipment that helps her navigate the arena as a blind rider. King Edward I was also feeling the atmosphere of his first championships, which made for a very tricky warm-up, but Nicky held it together to pull off a 69.53% score – good enough for fourth – and secure herself a place in the Freestyle. 

Following the success of her protégé Georgia Wilson yesterday, this afternoon it was time for Sophie Wells to enter the Para Arena for her Grade V individual test with C Fatal Attraction. Despite a few tense moments where 'Jorge' eyed up the crowd, he and Sophie danced their way to a 75.59% – just 0.21% behind the leaders and enough for a silver medal.

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The remaining three riders competing for Great Britain returned to the Rotterdam Arena this evening for the Grand Prix Special. All three continued their trend of strong performances, each of them finishing within the top 20.

First in were Lottie Fry and Dark Legend, who have impressed everybody with their coolness under pressure despite their relative inexperience. A stylish performance earned them 73.815% and 17th place in the final standings.

Carl Hester and Hawtins Delicato where next in and produced the type of graceful, flowing test that one would expect from a rider such as Carl and the ever-improving 'Del'. They earned a 77.508%, which put them in 9th place. They'll be back in the Freestyle on Saturday. 

Gareth Hughes and Classic Briolinca were our final combination of the evening. After pulling off out a personal best score in the Grand Prix, they went from strength to strength to do the same in the Special. An elated Gareth also commented that it isn't often he finishes ahead of Carl Hester, his coach for the past decade! Their final score was 78.085% for seventh place, and they'll also be back for the Freestyle.