Competition got underway at the Junior and Young Rider European Championships at Hartpury today and our riders representing Great Britain under the title sponsor banner of Team NAF have certainly done us proud so far.
Our Young Riders take the lead
Superb performances from Alice Casburn and Ibble Watson in the Young Rider Championship have left Great Britain sitting in the team gold medal position and Ibble in the individual gold medal position after the first day of dressage.
Alice Casburn was the first of the Team NAF British riders to perform their tests at the Championships, entering the arena shortly before 9am this morning. She and Topspin delivered a score of 33.8, getting the team off to a great start and leaving them competitively placed in eighth individually.
Fast forward a couple of hours, a period which included some very strong performances from the German riders, and all eyes were on Ibble Watson and Aristoteles S Z to see what they could do for Great Britain. The home crowd were captivated by the beautiful test the pair performed and they were rewarded with a score 29.4 – good enough not only to help the British team into the gold medal position at this stage of the Championship, but also to give them an early lead in the individual competition.
Polly Muirhead had started the week as a reserve for the squad but was called into action on Monday when Maja Hullah had to step down. Despite the last-minute call up, Polly and Penhill Touch of Class put in a fabulous performance for a score of 35.8 and to be lying in eleventh place as an individual at the end of day one.
A sparkling performance from our Junior riders
In the Junior Championship, Germany have taken an early lead in the team competition with a score of 61.4 at the end of the first day – however, our Team NAF British riders are hot on their heels, just 0.2 penalties behind with a score of 61.6.
Both of our team riders, Finn Healy and Grace Donnor rode stand out tests to leave them lying fourth and fifth individually after Thursday’s competition. Finn and Fathers Compromise set the standard, delivering a score of 31.1 in front of an appreciative home crowd.
“I was pretty pleased with my dressage,” said Finn. “I thought she did some very good work and a very mistake free test, so I was pleased. I didn’t quite get the mark I was maybe hoping for, however that’s how it goes and there is lots to jump out on the cross country.”
Grace and Cooley Ramiro were next up for the team and they equally delivered, keeping their cool to post a score of 30.5 and keep Great Britain within touching distance of the gold medal.
We finish the day with three British riders in the Top 10 of the individual competition, after Jaymee Savill and Grange Ash Sparrow (competing as an individual) achieved a score 32.2 to take tenth place.
Youth Performance Manager, Darrell Scaife said, “We are enjoying being at a championship on home ground and the riders are receiving terrific support. The riders are on their A game and the two squads have very definitely become one team.”
“It’s great to be here at the Hartpury Europeans,” added Dressage Coach, Tracie Robinson. “We have had two really good days training and I am really pleased with all of the rider’s enthusiasm and positivity. Today’s Dressage has gone really well, and I am very happy that they all produced good, mistake free tests and achieved good results.”
With the scores in each championship extremely tight, tomorrow’s performances will be crucial. You can find all start times and live results here.
Team NAF British rider times:
9.33am Millie Juleff and All We Need
9.47am Phoebe Hughes and Top Biats (Individual)
11.43am Molly Faulkner and Call me Cooley
8.07am Holly Clarke and Nico (i)
9.47am Jasmine Underwood and Indian Girl G
12.04pm Isabelle Cook and Mexican Law
Don’t forget, you can watch all the action live courtesy of Clip My Horse here.
British Eventing would like to thank NAF, title sponsors of the Junior and Young Rider Eventing Teams. Thanks also go to Event Collection, Fairfax & Favor, Holland Cooper Equestrian, LeMieux, Racesafe Equestrian and Welligogs who are further supporting the teams with kit.