2019 European Championship: Cross Country
It was a mixed day for the British squad over Mike Etherington-Smith’s testing cross country track at the 2019 European Championships in Luhmühlen (GER), but the team performed under pressure to hold on to their silver medal position heading in to tomorrow’s final phase.
First out for GB, Pippa Funnell put in an incredible performance as pathfinder for the team, riding Marek Sebastak and her own Majas Hope, Pippa came home with nothing to add to her dressage score of 35.4; “He is an absolute machine cross country, I have to thank Marek Sebastak, his owner, enormously for letting me keep the horse,” said Pippa following her round which puts her in 21st place, “it puts added pressure on the others if you don’t have a good ride, so I knew the importance of it [being pathfinder].”
Piggy French followed her teammate’s earlier lead and rode a skilful round on Jayne McGivern’s Quarrycrest Echo to give the team another penalty free result. Sticking on her dressage score of 29.8 sees Piggy head in to the final day of competition tomorrow in ninth place. After her round Piggy commented; “He’s absolutely fantastic, he’s such a beautiful horse to ride 99 per cent of the time, it’s just those waters that he will just have a little look – but he kept going all the way to the end.
“Just such a relief, such an honour to get here; this is such a different competition to any other, it’s a championship and you’re riding for your country and all you want to do is try and do the best job you can. I actually felt pretty sick this morning to be honest, [I thought] ‘I just hope this goes to plan’. As soon as you get on you forget about all of that and off your go!”
Individual rider, Kitty King impressed on Diana Bown, Sally Eyre, Samantha Wilson and Sally Lloyd-Baker’s Vendredi Biats, to add just 2.4 time penalties to their dressage score of 27.9 and finish the day in 10th place.
On her round, Kitty said; “He felt great, it was a little bit hairy making it happen in places but that was to be expected round a track like this. He kept jumping, looking for the flags and he felt really good. Annoyed with a few time, but just felt I needed to hold his hand a little bit towards the end to make him come home clear.”
Riding third for the British team, Tina Cook and Elisabeth Murdoch’s Billy The Red slipped past the final brush arrowhead ‘c’ at fence 12, to pick up an unfortunate 20 jumping penalties. The combination made light work of the rest of the course, but stopped the clock 39 seconds over the optimum time to add 15.6 time penalties to their dressage score, leaving them on a score of 63.9 in 47th place.
A disappointed Tina commented; “We should have jumped it and that’s the name of the game and that’s the competition. I wanted to complete, you never know in competition, but that [run out] automatically puts you behind the time and I just needed to get home faultless and forego a few time. I’m obviously very disappointed.”
Following Tina’s earlier run out, Oliver Townend did a brilliant job as the team anchor, securing GB an important clear round inside the time on Angela Hislop’s Cooley Master Class.
Staying on his score of 27.6, Oliver, who holds fifth place individually, said; “[pressure] is not something that affects me, I might get a bit nervous whilst I’m waiting in the wagon, but once I’m on the horse I’m very calm and relaxed. I try and give myself a bit of a kick, I suppose it comes with experience, but I’ve become very relaxed, then I cross the finish line and get a bit embarrassing and emotional! I’m very grateful to the British support, the British team and everyone behind the scenes.”
Laura Collett, riding as an individual and was sitting in the individual bronze medal position, was giving Karen Bartlett, Keith Scott and her own London 52 a super ride round his first championship cross country, but an unfortunate fall at the final element of fence 20 sadly ended their 2019 European campaign. Both horse and rider walked away unhurt.
Despite trouble for one of their team riders, Germany maintain their lead in the team competition with a score of 71.7 penalties ahead of Great Britain in silver on 92.8, France rose to bronze after a strong day of cross country left them on a score of 93.6.
The Second Horse Inspection will take place at 8am (BST), before show jumping gets underway from 10am (BST) in reverse order.
Find out how you can watch the cross country highlights and tomorrow's show jumping HERE
Individual British results
Fifth - Oliver Townend with Angela Hislop’s Cooley Master Class* (27.6)
Ninth - Piggy French with Jayne McGivern’s Quarrycrest Echo* (29.8)
Tenth - Kitty King with Diana Bown, Sally Eyre, Samantha Wilson and Sally Lloyd-Baker’s Vendredi Biats (30.3)
21st - Pippa Funnell with Marek Sebastak and her own Majas Hope* (35.4)
47th - Tina Cook with Elisabeth Murdoch’s Billy The Red* (63.9)
EL - Laura Collett with Karen Bartlett, Keith Scott and her own London 52
*denotes team rider
View full individual results HERE
Team Placings after Cross Country
Gold – Germany (71.7)
Silver – Great Britain (92.8)
Bronze – France (93.6)
View full team results HERE