The morning session of show jumping was a scant affair, with only 17 combinations coming forward to jump. It wasn’t until the seventh to go, Bettina Hoy riding as an individual for Germany on Designer 10, that we got the first clear round. Up until that point, the first two to go, Elnira Nabieva with Chabanak, the sole Russians left in the competition, and Louise Svennson Jähde riding Viva 29, had both posted 8 faults. Carriem van Colen Z ridden by Maria Pinedo Sendagorta, riding as an individual for Spain had just one fence down, the Olympic Post Box fence at two, but sadly her compatriot and sister Cristina Pinedo Sendagorta ran Helena XII into the base of fence 3, a white oxer on a downhill 4 strides from fence 2. A second stop on representation meant elimination not just for them, but for the whole Spanish team, which ended their dream of qualifying for the Rio Olympics in 2016.
As Bettina Hoy came down the horsewalk to the arena, she was flanked by Dirk Schrade, who had been warming her up. He gave her some last minute advice to just ride the distance normally between fences 2 and 3, and she posted a beautiful clear round. Only four other riders managed to go clear, and Nicola Wilson for Great Britain was not amongst them. She gave the team a real heart stopping moment when she put One Two Many on an impossible distance to fence 7. The horse bravely took off, but crashed through it, nearly decanting Nicola in the process. She grimly clung on, knowing the team only had three riders and that if she fell, they’d be out of contention for a medal. The pair recovered well to jump the rest of the course clear.
The top 25 riders jumped in reverse order after lunch in front of Her Majesty the Queen. It’s been a week of mixed fortunes for the British riders, and so it continued in the showjumping, with Holly Woodhead and Sarah Bullimore both lowering fences to drop down the order, whilst Oli Townend conjured a clear from Fenyas Elegance to finish 17th. Neither Anna Nilsson or Sara Algotsson Ostholt managed to jump clear rounds, but their combined 20 penalties didn’t matter because they brought the Swedish team home in 5th place to secure their Olympic qualification.
The French team continued their quiet climb up the leaderboard, with four faults from Thomas Carlile and a clear from Mathieu Lemoine meaning they just needed Thibaut Vallette to come through the finish in order to secure their Olympic spot. It was a fairytale championship debut for Thibaut, who was 5th after dressage, moved up to 4th after XC, and was an unexpected medal contender.
Luca Roman gave the Italians a heart-stopping moment when Castlewoods Jake, who’d been hanging right over the fences, appeared to nap to the right before fence 7, although he subsequently cleared it and finished the round with no faults. Sam Watson for Ireland gave the selectors something to think about with a brilliantly judged clear round on the inexperienced Horseware Lukeswell to finish 12th as best of the Irish contingent.
A superb clear from Pippa Funnell for the Great Britain team with Sandman 7 saw them finish eighth individually. Fence 7 proved to be the real nemesis for the British team, with Grand Manouevre having a stop and going on to have another fence down and 3 time faults. Gemma Tattersall’s Arctic Soul just never looked like he’d got going, and came very backwards to fence 3, where he also had a stop and picked up 2 time penalties to boot.
Kitty King was the last of the Great Britain team members to jump, and a perfectly judged round on board Persimmon saw them secure the silver medal for the team. A clear round from Thibaut Vallette with Qing du Briot put the pressure on Izzy Taylor who had to jump clear to retain individual silver. Sadly it was not to be when KBIS Briarlands Matilda rattled fence 2 and then had the planks down to finish on 4 faults and drop to sixth. This boosted Kitty King up to fourth with Persimmon, just 0.1 of a penalty off an individual medal and best of the Brits.
The team and individual gold and silver medals were never really in doubt when the last two into the Longines arena were Sandra Auffarth and Michael Jung. Every single German jumped a clear round, and these two were no exception. Even though Opgun Louvo stumbled before the water tray and fischerTakinou rattled the first two elements of the treble, the Germans provided a masterclass in how to ride at a championships to take individual gold and silver, team gold, and have five of their six riders in the top ten individually.
The Top Ten:
- Michael Jung – fischerTakinou
- Sandra Auffarth – Opgun Louvou
- Thibaut Vallette – Qing du Briot
- Kitty King – Persimmon
- Ingrid Klimke – Horseware Hale Bob
- Izzy Taylor – KBIS Briarlands Matilda
- Dirk Schrade – Hop and Skip
- Pippa Funnell – Sandman 7
- Gemma Tattersall – Arctic Soul
- Peter Thomsen – Horseware’s Barny
The team results:
Silver: Great Britain
Our coverage from the Longines FEI European Eventing Championship is brought to you by Sportzvibe massage rugs from Horseware. Read our reviews of the Sportzvibe Horse Rug here and the Dog Rug here and here.