2019 European Championship: Great Britain win team silver
After a highly influential show jumping phase and competition that went down to the wire, Great Britain returns from the 2019 European Championship in Luhmühlen, Germany, holding the team silver medal.
So commanding was the German lead in the team competition, the colour of their medal was sealed before the final team rider had even entered the arena, and it was the competition for silver and bronze that had everyone on the edge of their seats.
First in for Great Britain and the drop score for the team, Tina Cook and Elisabeth Murdoch’s Billy The Red produced a show jumping masterclass to secure a confidence-boosting clear round for GB. Completing in 42nd place on their score of 63.9, Tina said after her show jumping round; “He’s a brilliant jumper and he’s jumped clear rounds at the Europeans and the Worlds and if I ever had a fence down I would one million percent blame myself.
“He’s a world-class horse, bar one small moment of lack of concentration yesterday, I have no explanation why it happened, but it happened - it shows they’re animals. He’s done a lot of good things here and he’s come out of today fit and sound and we’ll be there in the reckoning for next year.”
After a member of the French team was not accepted at the Final Horse Inspection this morning, Great Britain went in to the show jumping this morning with a two fence advantage over third placed Italy. Pippa Funnell was next into the ring for GB and the first counting score for the team, but a pole down on Marek Sebastak and her own Majas Hope increased the pressure on the final two team riders.
After finishing on a score of 39.4 penalties for 22nd place, Pippa said; “I’m sorry, I was gutted, I should have been clear. He got a little bit tight, he just tipped the back rail and that’s all I can say really. I’m thrilled with him, any good horse can have one down and it’s just frustrating.”
Individual rider Kitty King was next in for the British contingent and showed off all of Vendredi Biats’ jumping class with a polished clear round for owners Diana Bown, Sally Eyre, Samantha Wilson and Sally Lloyd-Baker. With nothing to add to their score of 30.3, Kitty finished best of the Brits in seventh place, and said after her round; “I made a bit of a mess up at the first line, but it sharpened me up a bit! He really helped me out – he couldn’t have jumped better. It means everything; you always want to do the best for your country, even if you’re an individual, you’re still representing Team GBR and you want to do your best job and not let anyone down.”
With Italy’s team suffering problems over the coloured poles they dropped behind both France, who moved back up into bronze, and Sweden, as the gap closed further on GB’s silver position. With only one fence in hand it was Piggy French next up for the GB team on Jayne McGivern’s Quarrycrest Echo. An early fence down at 4b put the combination in a final position of 15th on a score of 33.8, and also left no margin for error in the team competition with Oliver Townend left to jump.
Oliver entered the show jumping in fifth place and needed to produce a clear round on Angela Hislop’s Cooley Masterclass to secure Britain with the team silver. An uncharacteristic fault at the planks dropped GB down to bronze with the final rider for France left to jump, and also slipped Oliver into ninth place individually on 31.6 penalties.
All eyes were now on the last team member of the French team, Lt Col Thibaut Vallette. There were celebrations for Britain as a fence down put Great Britain back into silver, and, heart-wrenchingly for France, dropped them behind Sweden and out of the medals - so close were the scores.
Watching as the French pole fell, Oliver said about his own fence down; “It matters for me, but it doesn’t matter for the team and that’s the main bit here. I’m obviously disappointed for the owner, to have a fence down. It matters more and more [the show jumping], gone are the days that a bad jumper is a good event horse!”
There was more success for the German hosts in the individual competition, despite a fence down for overnight leader Michael Jung and fischerChipmunk FRH, who swapped his medal to silver on a score of 24.9, gold went to fellow German and reigning European Champion, Ingrid Klimke and SAP Hale Bob OLD on 22.2. Clear cross country and show jumping rounds from Ireland’s Cathal Daniels shot him up the leaderboard from 13th after dressage and sixth after cross country, to eventually take the individual bronze medal on a score of 29.
Final individual placings for GB:
Seventh - Kitty King with Diana Bown, Sally Eyre, Samantha Wilson and Sally Lloyd-Baker’s Vendredi Biats
Ninth - Oliver Townend with Angela Hislop’s Cooley Master Class*
15th - Piggy French with Jayne McGivern’s Quarrycrest Echo*
22st - Pippa Funnell with Marek Sebastak and her own Majas Hope* (35.4)
42nd - Tina Cook with Elisabeth Murdoch’s Billy The Red* (63.9)
EL XC - Laura Collett with Karen Bartlett, Keith Scott and her own London 52
*denotes team rider
Full individual results HERE
Final Team positions:
Gold – Germany (82.5)
Silver – Great Britain (104.8)
Bronze – Sweden (105.1)
Full team results HERE
Image credit Adam Fanthorpe