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Watch all the action from the FEI Dressage and Eventing European Championships for Young Riders and Juniors 2022

Individual dressage bronze for Pidgley as Britain's eventers lie in silver position after first phase

29 Jul 2022 |

DRESSAGE

Junior Dressage European Championship (Show Sponsor: Andrews Bowen)

With Myles Graham having posted a super score yesterday to sit fifth overnight, and with the British Junior team still riding high after their bronze medal success, Individual medal honours were up for grabs on Friday.

The first British Junior down the centre line this afternoon was Sophie Wallace with Ursula Bechtolsheimer and Laura Tomlinson’s Westphalian mare, Rosalie B (Rubin Royal x Newcastle). Sophie, who is 15-years old, has a background in show jumping and took over the reins on “Rosie” eight months ago. She produced a test that scored 71.765%. This put cool-headed Sophie, on her European Championships debut, into provisional seventh place.

Annabella Pidgley and Espe (Escolar x Dimaggio) who spearheaded Great Britain to a tremendous team bronze medal on Wednesday, the nation’s first Junior team medal for 24 years, started today as an odds-on favourite combination for a podium place.

Sarah Pidgley’s mare was rewarded for her medium and extended work in all paces and eights featured frequently on the main scoreboard. Four of the five judges rounded off their marks with an eight for general impression.

Germany’s Allegra Schmitz-Morkramer, sister of today’s Young Rider Individual gold medallist Helen Schmitz-Morkramer, was sitting in gold on an outstanding 77.030%, Denmark’s Sophia Boje Obel Jørgensen and Brilliant were in the silver medal position on 74.618% while France’s Mathilde Juglaret with Caporal de Massa were lying provisional bronze on 74.324%.

An anxious wait meant Annabella had to hold her breath to see her final score on the board, with a knowledgeable crowd also eagerly awaiting to see the outcome. A score of 74.382% confirmed the third individual medal of her career so far.

India Durman-Mills had a day that she may well want to forget with Escade being eliminated due to spooking and taking fright after the trot work. No matter the outcome of these championships, India has demonstrated her credentials to be on a British team after her impressive contribution to the Team bronze medal.

“I was really happy with how Espe felt today,” commented Annabella after the medal ceremony this evening. “She was really super. All my extensions were much improved from Hagen, and everything just felt really seamless and flawless. We had a few mistakes but at our first championships together I couldn’t have asked for more from her.

“She’s so sweet and always tries her absolute hardest,” continued Annabella about Espe. “This [the Championships] is a lot for her, as it’s her first championships. She’s only eight years old and she’s never really done anything this big with me before, and she’s just given it her absolute all every single day. I think she was a bit tired today, but she just continued to give me everything that she could, and it’s an honour to be able to ride her.

“It’s pretty cool,” was the 17-year-old’s response when asked what it feels like to add another medal to her collection. “It feels incredible and hopefully we can try again tomorrow in the freestyle."

Annabella has trained long-term with Danish star Cathrine Dufour and more recently with Charlotte Dujardin as well. “We bought Espe as a six-year-old and Cathrine trained her for two years before I took over the ride this March, so she knows her inside out. And I’ve been working with Charlotte since last year. The combination of the two has really helped us to improve, and we were really polishing the details before this championship and I think you can see it’s really paid off.”

Young Rider Dressage European Championship (Show Sponsor: Hartpury University and College)

With Caitlin Burgess and Anna Dalrymple each occupying top-five places overnight, together with Maddy Frewin sitting 13th, there was great anticipation amongst the British camp going into the second half of the Individual competition. A total of 18 places were on offer for tomorrow’s Freestyle finale, where a further set of FEI medals will be awarded.

Austria’s Paul Jöbstl and the chestnut stallion Bodyguard 49 looked on song with a superb test early in the session (74.706%), taking provisional third place on the leader board behind Helena Schmitz-Morkramer with DSP Lifestyle (76.949%) and Lucie-Anouk Baumgürtel and Zinq Hugo FH (75.368%) – remarkably this top three remaining the same until the final podium.

The sole British Young Rider combination competing today, her compatriots having ridden yesterday, was Jessie McConkey with her bay mare Lady Gaga (Quaterback x Solos Landwind). Buoyed by a fantastic Team Test PB of 72.235% on Tuesday, Jessie and “Millie” came into today’s performance full of confidence and conviction.

The combination rode the test of their lives showcasing the mare's natural scopey paces and expression.  Strong canter work results in a large number of eights. Three judges rounded off their marks with eights for general impression - the final score of 74.044% propelling the pair into an emphatic fourth place on the leader board, and that’s where they were to remain at the close of the class, much to the delight of British supporters.

EVENTING

The home nation enjoyed another successful day on Friday with both of Britain's Junior and Young Rider eventing teams sitting in the silver medal position at the end of the dressage phase.

The British team are competing under the sponsor banner of Team NAF, a brand synonymous with Hartpury as the title sponsor of the International Hartpury Horse Trials (10-14 August).

Young Riders Eventing European Championship (Show Sponsor: Commscope Ruckus)

Team Germany have enjoyed an extraordinary week in the Dressage Championship and in the eventing, the German riders have also managed to take a small lead. However, performances from Millie Juleff and Molly Faulkner have kept Britain in the Silver medal position and limited the Germans lead to less than 5 penalties.

Millie Juleff and All We Need got the day off to a great start, producing a lovely test for a score of 31.4. This was good enough to move them into the top 10 individually, lying tenth by the end of the dressage.

Molly Faulkner and Call me Cooley were the last of the Young Rider team to perform their test and they too delivered a solid score in the low 30s (32.4), leaving the British quartet on a team score of 93.2 (silver medal position).

Great Britain top the individual standings, too. A stunning performance from Phoebe Hughes and Top Biats – competing this week as an individual, left the British rider in gold medal position after the first phase. Phoebe rode the test of her life to deliver a superb score of 25.7 and take a 1.3 penalty lead over the rest of the field after dressage.

“I am absolutely delighted to be leading going into cross country at such a prestigious event with an incredible atmosphere,” said Phoebe, talking to British Eventing after her test. “Top really rose to the occasion and felt incredible the whole way through. The support from the whole team is amazing, from the vets, physio, coaches, teammates, and Darrell. It’s been such a great start to the week, and I can’t wait to crack on with the weekend.”

Juniors Eventing European Championship (Show Sponsor: Hartpury University and College)

Britain's Team NAF Junior riders remain in the team silver medal position in the European Championship for Juniors after a strong second day of dressage.

Jasmine Underwood and Indian Girl G were first to go for the home nation on day two, producing a test to match the score of her team-mate Finn Healy, 31.1. This left them in equal tenth position individually.

Isabelle Cook and Mexican Law had the longest wait of any of the British combinations to get their campaign underway, as one of the last competitors to enter the arena. Their performance was well worth the wait as they delivered a brilliant test for a score 0f 26.6. Not only did this score keep the Brits in the silver medal position – less than two penalties behind Germany – but it was also good enough to move Isabelle and Mexican Law into the silver medal position individually.

“It was such an exciting day for me, with Mexican Law putting in a personal best at our first Europeans,” said Isabelle, talking to British Eventing. “I felt the pressure today as my teammates had all put in solid performances, which has now put us in a close second behind the Germans. I’m looking forward to the cross country over a decent beautifully built course. The scores are so close, so will be so exciting.”

Holly Clarke, competing as an individual, also moving into the Top 10. Holly produced a fabulous test with Nico for a score of 30.5 which left them lying seventh.