Pathfinder Emile Faurie got Britain’s team campaign off to a solid start with Elena Knyaginicheva’s Lollipop 126 this evening at the Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden. He entered the impressive Ullevi stadium with one objective, a clean, mistake free test and that’s just what his experience brought from the Lord Sinclair 13 year old gelding on his Championship debut.
A small, momentary spook at shadows cast by the enormous lights which illuminate the stadium, which normally hosts football fixtures, gave the expectant crowd a moment of angst but Emile soon had him settled and trending with at 70% plus score. The partnership grew in confidence with every step and Emile really showed the horse off in the extended canter and final extended trot to boost the marks.
A strong final centre line brought the crucial performance to an end and a wide smile from Emile and huge pat for Lollipop proved the rider was delighted with his test. The provisional score of 72.286% was awarded and then confirmed to ensure the hopes of a depleted British team are very much alive with Spencer Wilton and Carl Hester to come tomorrow.
“I’m chuffed to bits with him; he’s such a dude!” exclaimed a delighted Emile. “He’s a relatively young horse and has never been in an atmosphere like this – he has a heart as big as this stadium! The way he coped with the pressure is quite cool really.
“I felt his heart start pounding as I entered the arena so I did something I never do, I walked hime around. He took a breath and he let me ride him from there,” he continued.
Lollipop was the selectors’ second choice with Emile originally selected with Hof Kasselman’s Weekend Fun but the gelding was found to have a ‘small tweak’ which brought Lollipop into the team. Fortunately, Emile had been training in Germany with both horses in final preparation and travelled them both to Sweden so the substitution was a simple one. “I had good final preparation as my trainer is very disciplined and both horses were worked like they’d both compete so we were ready,” Emile explained.
Emile lies in sixth place overnight and is hopeful of a top 30 place which would get him through to the Grand Prix Special on Friday night where he knows he can let go a bit more; “He’s got a lot more to give,” said Emile.
Germany's Helen Langenhangenburg leads the pack overall with Damsey FRH on 74.986%.
In the fight for the team medals, favourites Germany have opened up a six percent lead over nearest rivals, the Netherlands who have Denmark hot on their heels.
Team standings – click here
Full results of part one of the Grand Prix – click here
Article Source: British Dressage News
Image courtesy BD Image archive
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