The Thursday afternoon slot was the time for the second team riders to shine, and they didn’t disappoint. Nicola Wilson riding One Two Many, who came in looking quite strong, rode a brave test to score highly, especially in the canter serpentine. She commented that “he can be cheeky but has just got better and better these last six weeks.” Her score of 34.6 was enough to put her briefly into second place, although she eventually ended the day in third for Great Britain.
Two horses later, the rider everyone’s out to beat rode the youngest horse in the competition under the Longines archway and into the main arena at Blair. Michael Jung’s mount fischerTakinou is just eight years old, and according to Michael, has been aimed at this competition all year. When asked why he’d chosen fischerTakinou over his other rides, he noted that “for this cross country, you want a horse with a lot of thoroughbred” before also stating that “Halunke is aimed at Pau to gain qualifications for next season.” With the Scottish sun glinting of his patriotic browband, the crowd waited to see if he could top Holly Woodhead’s score of 31.7. The fairytale continued for Holly, however, as the final mark of 33.5 flashed up on the big screen, putting Michael into second for the German team.
Only two more riders in the afternoon had any impact on the top ten. Karim Florent Laghouag for France riding Entebbe de Hus, an elegant 10 year old black stallion, and Anna Nilsson for Sweden with Luron. Karim’s horse was so relaxed he had an impromptu snack at the end of his test, and the Frenchman was clearly delighted with Entebbe de Hus, hugging him as he exited the arena. They finished in eighth on 38.7. Anna Nilsson’s test was just marred by a few errors in the first extended canter, which dropped their score slightly to 39.7 leaving them in 9th.
We end the day with five British riders in the top ten, all on sub-40 scores. In the team standings, Great Britain go into day two in the gold medal position on a score of 71.5, with France in silver on 75.5 and Germany in bronze on 76.6. It seems unlikely that anyone would have predicted a first day of dressage where a 21 year old at her first senior squad competition and only her second ever CCI3* would lead the dressage and Germany would be in team bronze, so tune in tomorrow for more action from the European Championships.
You can see the full results here.
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.