A personal best and fifth place for GB rider at debut FEI Pony European Championships
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Abigail Gray and George Clooney B.S achieved a new personal best score for the second time this week as they reached the new heights of 74.811% to finish in fifth place in the Individual Test at the FEI Pony European Championships being held in Le Mans.
The French venue of Boulerie Jump - Pôle Européan du Cheval hosted the Individual Test, which took place over two days and saw 53 competitors from 18 nations go head-to-head for the individual medals. Demi Howard-Cartwright and Sofia Games took to the arena on Friday to complete their tests, with Ella Glennon and Abigail Gray having to nervously wait until the Saturday before it was their turn.
Sofia Games (15), from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire (pictured above), was the first of the Brits to complete her test, with Janet Oliver and Katie Oliver-Games’ 12-year-old gelding Steendieks Cadillac (by FS Chambertin). The duo showed particular highlights in the canter and scored 66.757% from the judging panel.
Next up down the centre line was Demi Howard-Cartwright (16) (pictured above) riding her own Fin C WE (Famos x Eiger III), a 20-year-old chestnut gelding who showed that age is just a number as they scored an impressive 69.000% with a beautifully-presented test, finishing day one in a provisional 13th place.
Day two of the Individual Test competition kicked off mid-afternoon in Le Mans, as the remaining 23 riders prepared to take to the arena with 76.405% the score to beat from day one. For the two remaining GB riders, Ella Glennon (15) was first up, with Debbie Glennon’s Amden Supreme Golden Dancer, a 7-year-old palomino gelding. Ella and 'Leo' took to the international stage and scored a brilliant 66.649%.
The final rider from Great Britain to ride their test was Abigail Gray (15) from Banchory, Aberdeenshire, with her own George Clooney B.S, a combination who have only been competing together since October 2022. Abigail had started off the week scoring a new personal best in the Team competition and so all eyes were on the pair to see what they could pull out the bag in the Individual Test. And they did not disappoint! Not only did Abigail and the 12-year-old grey gelding ride a beautiful test to put them in fifth place, they also beat their personal best for the second time this competition - scoring an incredible 74.811%!
Having had her first riding lesson at just five years old, Abigail's family were completely new to horses when she took up the reins, however having seen how much Abigail (pictured above) enjoyed it she inspired her Mum to take lessons too. Ten years later she has shown she is a bright star for the future, with two personal bests and a fifth place in both the Team and Individual competitions on her debut at the FEI Pony European Championships.
The competition draws to a close on Sunday (30 July) with the Freestyle Test, which will see Abigail Gray and George Clooney B.S competing against the other top 18 riders from the Individual competition.
- Lilly Marie Collin and Cosmos Callidus NRW, 81.189% (GER)
- Julie Sofie Schmitz-Heinen and Chilly Morning WE, 77.135% (GER)
- Liezel Everars and FS Capelli De Niro, 76.405% (BEL)
- Maria Teresa Pohl and Der Kleine Sunnyboy WE, 75.405% (GER)
- Abigail Gray and George Clooney B.S, 74.811% (GBR)
- Anna Munkebo and Lyngdal's Mira Puella, 74.162% (DEN)
- Mia Allegra Lohe and TOvdals Golden Future Imperial, 74.081% (GER)
- Isabella Karajkovic and First Hummer, 72.243% (NED)
- Veronica Pawluk and D'artagnan 187, 71.757% (POL)
- Emilie Herweyers and Lesch La Perla, 71.703% (BEL)
Photo © Les Garennes