Dahl and Games top 15 on final day at FEI Pony European Championships
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British Pony riders performed brilliantly in this morning’s Freestyle at the FEI Pony European Championships at Strzegom in Poland (03 – 07 August 2022). Mette Dahl with George Clooney B.S and Sofia Games with Next Black Magic had done Great Britain proud to qualify for the final stage of the Championships, where today they achieved 11th and 15th place respectively amongst Europe’s elite.
British riders have achieved exciting results this week, including a superb fourth place out of 16 nations in the Team competition, behind Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark. After two days of Individual medal competition, where a second set of FEI medals was awarded and two Brits – Mette and Sofia - placed inside the top 18 to qualify, this morning all eyes were on the Freestyle competition in the sun-drenched Morawa hippodrome.
The first combination down the centre line, Ronja Kardos and Brannornas Rigoletto (Verdi RP 144 x Derano B) for Sweden, laid down a score just shy of 73%, and as the competition unfolded in true European Championship style, it was evident we were in for a treat of top class youth dressage. Further strong scores followed within the first group of riders, including the Netherlands’ Morgan Walraven and black mare Devill’s Kiss Naoni putting a competitive 75-plus% on the table.
The first of the British combinations to go, Mette Dahl (16) with her mother Fiona Bigwood’s British-bred gelding George Clooney B.S (pictured top), rose to the challenge with a freestyle showcasing the pony’s flamboyance, lightness and enthusiasm. Powerful music set the scene for bold, ground-covering extensions, paired with balanced, precise simple changes and well positioned half passes. An extended trot into halt on the final centre line rounded off their test in confident style.
After a big pat for George from a delighted Mette, a score of 74.780% appeared on the board propelling them directly into provisional second place, as Sofia Games and Next Black Magic were making their final preparations.
Following immediately on, teammate Sofia (14), competing at her very first European Championships, creatively entered in walk with Next Black Magic (Nabucco R x FS Pour L’Amour) - pictured above - a 14-year-old German gelding who is known at home as “Totti”. Riding with maturity beyond her years, cool-headed Sofia delivered an accomplished programme to music from the Forrest Gump soundtrack to earn 72.515% despite dropping some expensive marks in the extended canter. The super performance earned plenty of strong marks, including two eights, and gave more than a glimpse of what this combination is capable of in the future.
With the Netherlands’ Esmee Boers and seven-year-old bay stallion Beauty W (Orchard Boginov x Sjapoer Ox) next posting 77.485%, the two British combinations were lying provisionally third and sixth before the halfway break.
As the second half of the competition unfolded, an outstanding performance by Poland’s Veronica Pawluk with the 14-year-old gelding D’Artagnan 187 (FS Don’t Worry x Colano), in front of their home crowd, earned 77.490% to take the provisional lead and ultimately the Freestyle bronze medal.
Germany’s Mia Allegra Lohe and the 13-year-old palomino mare Tovdals Golden Future Imperial (CJ Chargon Bredager x Rytterbjergets Imperial) delivered a beautifully expressive and fluent freestyle performance. Second individually in the Team Test and winners of the Individual silver medal, they concluded their week in emphatic style winning Freestyle gold on 80.355%.
The Netherlands’ Maddy Dijkshoorn and chestnut gelding Boogie de L’Aube (Don’t Worry x Varello) – ninth individually in the Team competition and fifth in the race for Individual medals - climbed the ranks to take Freestyle silver with 77.795%.
British Dressage congratulates the riders and ponies, support staff, parents and everyone behind the scenes for a highly successful European Championships.
1. Mia Allegra Lohe and Tovdals Golden Future Imperial, 80.355% (GER)
2. Maddy Dijkshoorn and Boogie de L’Aube, 77.795% (NED)
3. Veronica Pawluk and D’Artagnan 187, 77.490% (POL)
4. Esmee Boers and Beauty W, 77.485% (NED)
5. Lilly Marie Collin and Cosmo Callidus NRW, 77.445% (GER)
6. Cornelia Munch Sinding and Terbofens Charico, 77.295% (DEN)
7. Liezel Everars and FS Capelli de Niro, 75.710% (BEL)
8. Morgan Walraven and Devill’s Kiss Naoni, 75.535% (NED)
9. Virginia Spönie and Coer Noble, 75.400% (ITA)
10. Josephine Gert Nielsen and Kastanienhof Crimson Gold, 75.190% (DEN)
11. Mette Dahl and George Clooney B.S, 74.780% (GBR)
12. Ronja Kardos and Brannornas Rigoletto, 72.980% (SWE)
13. Julie Sofie Schmitz-Heinen and Carleo Go, 72.795% (GER)
14. Selma Ludvigsen and Egelykkes Perfetto, 72.560% (DEN)
15. Sofia Games and Next Black Magic, 72.515% (GBR)
16. Fleur Weijkamp and Orchard NL, 72.170% (FRA)
17. Sarah Demmler and Dear Principal, 72.065% (SUI)
18. Pola Guerquin-Koryzma and Milky Way PP, 68.730% (POL)
Photo © Adam Fanthorpe