Last week the Team NAF British Pony riders made the long journey to Kaposvar University, Hungary to contest the FEI European Championships for Ponies (26 – 30 July). After a successful season for all four team members the expectations were high and they didn’t fail to deliver.
First to go in the team test was 15-year-old Megan Barratt from Banbury, Oxfordshire. Aboard her mother Susan’s bay gelding Valido’s Starlight. Megan made a fantastic start to her first Championships by scoring 69.667%.
Fellow team debutant Holly Kerslake also rode a stellar test to finish just behind Megan on 69% with her own and Carl Trock’s Danish bred stallion Valhallas Zorro . Holly and Megan’s super effort put Team NAF into a fantastic bronze medal position over night.
Former pony eventing team medallist Anya Kolleth brought her Championship experience to the ring with Phoebe Peters’ SL Lucci (Lukas x Bazaar) and scored 71.308% to keep GB in the hunt for a medal.
Entering the arena as team anchor Preston-based rider Sophie Taylor rode a phenomenal test under pressure with Becky Moody’s Madam's Miss Maria resulting in a great 72.179% - a score high enough to secure the Bronze medal for the team.
Germany once more topped the podium in the team competition with the squad from Denmark taking home a silver medal to repeat their results from the 2016 European Championships in Vilhelsmborg.
Sophie Taylor took to Facebook to enthuse about Britain’s return to the podium saying, "Amazing few days at the FEI Pony Europeans! To win a bronze medal is the stuff dreams are made of – such a team effort with Anya, Megan and Holly.”
Moving onto the Individual test both Megan and Holly rode fantastic tests to gain more Championship experience and were awarded 66.512% and 67.781% respectively.
In the second last group Sophie Taylor and Madam's Miss Maria rode another lovely test to score 70.902% for 12th place overall. The 12-year-old mare by Wolhoeve’s Silco popped in a lovely though unwanted flying change in the extended canter but produced fantastic work elsewhere including the simple changes which well rewarded.
Last to go for the Brits was Anya Kolleth with former European Champion pony SL Lucci. Sixteen-year-old Anya rode the test of her life to earn a new PB in the Individual test of 72.415% with the experienced gelding showing his quality. This score was enough to place Anya and Lucci inside the top ten with both her and Sophie qualifying for the Freestyle final.
Sophie and ‘Dot’ rode an exciting programme to upbeat dance music. A mistake free test was rewarded by the panel of judges resulting in a score of 72.625% and 11th place. Whilst Anya and Lucci gained 73.725% and ninth place for their super test ridden to dramatic film style music.
Taking home both the Individual gold medals was young German Lucie-Anouk Baumgurtel with the eye-catching dun Zinq Massimiliano FH; this is the second year that Lucie-Anouk has triumphed in winning the two titles up for grabs.
Huge congratulations to all four team members on their bronze medal and great individual performances. Thanks must go to all the team out in Kaposvar including grooms Liz Walsh and Vicky Prince, team vet Robert Oulton, trainer Dan Sherriff and Chef d’Equipe Caroline Bell for keeping everything running so efficiently.
Huge thanks also to NAF for their sponsorship of the successful British team and to official supplier, LeMieux.
Article Source: British Dressage News
Image courtesy British Dressage/Helen Revington
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