Great Britain fifth at FEI Pony European Championships
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British riders put up a strong challenge in the team competition at the FEI Dressage Pony European Championships in Le Mans, France (24 – 30 July 2023). Spearheaded by Abigail Gray and George Clooney B.S, who delivered an outstanding team test on the opening day of competition, the British team achieved an admirable fifth place behind Germany, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands in the 13-nation contest.
With all nations welcomed in a fabulous opening ceremony at the leading French venue of Boulerie Jump - Pôle Européan du Cheval, the 2023 FEI Pony European Championships in Le Mans, which features the three Olympic disciplines of Dressage, Eventing and Showjumping, was officially declared open on Tuesday.
The first two days on the dressage stage witnessed a thrilling race for team medals with Europe’s leading Pony riders in the charge for top honours. A high-performing German team gained gold on a total of 228.114 points, followed by Denmark (217.772), Belgium (216.057), the Netherlands (214.770) and Great Britain in fifth place on a team total of 210.572.
Britain’s team pathfinder, Ella Glennon opened Britain’s campaign on Wednesday with a score of 68.229% in the first rotation of riders. Partnered by Debbie Glennon’s seven-year-old German Riding Pony, Amden Supreme Golden Dancer (by Dating AT), pictured top, the 15-year-old European Championships first-timer rode with maturity and precision to set GBR off to an optimistic start.
Abigail Gray (15), from Banchory in Aberdeenshire, followed on day one with an exceptional performance aboard the talented grey pony, George Clooney B.S (Caesar 171 x Santano), who is a former ride of both Sophie Taylor and Mette Dahl. Abigail rode with great conviction to post a brand-new personal best of 72.800% with the 12-year-old gelding, pictured above, to bolster the team total and put GBR in provisional silver overnight, together with sealing herself eventual seventh place on the individual standings.
The score sheets for this combination contained no fewer than 20 eights, with three awarded for General Impression for this capable and relatively new partnership.
Riding down the centre line on day two of the Team medal competition, Demi Howard-Cartwright (15) delivered a consistent and elegant test with Fin C WE (Famos x Eiger III), pictured above, to earn a score of 67.343% from the judges panel comprised of Eva-Maria Vint-Warmington (EST), Magnus Ringmark (SWE), Susanne Baarup (DEN), Isabelle Judet (FRA) and Thomas Kessler (GER).
Fin C WE, who competed at the 2018 Pony European Championships with Bonneville Bourne, certainly defies his 20 years of age, as was demonstrated in Le Mans today with a fluent and accomplished performance with his rider of four years.
Team anchorwoman Sofia Games (15), who competed at the 2022 FEI Pony Europeans at Strzegom in Poland with Next Black Magic, put her experience to good use in her calmly- and- skilfully-ridden presentation of Janet Oliver and Katie Oliver-Games’ striking 12-year-old gelding, Steendieks Cadillac (by FS Chambertin), pictured above, to post a score of 69.543% to help maintain a strong position on the final team leaderboard for Great Britain.
British Dressage congratulates Ella, Abigail, Demi and Sofia, and all the ponies’ owners, as well as Chef d’Equipe Nina Boex, Team Vet Robert Oulton, Coach Advisor Clive Halsall, Performance Manager Caroline Bell and all the dedicated teams behind the scenes.
The Pony Individual Test occupies Friday and Saturday, with a set of individual FEI medals awarded on Saturday plus the chance to make the top 18 who qualify for Sunday’s Freestyle.
1. Germany, 228.114
2. Denmark, 217.772
3. Belgium, 216.057
4. Netherlands, 214.770
5. Great Britain, 210.572
6. Italy, 207.857
7. Sweden, 206.456
8. France, 202.999
9. Poland, 199.171
10. Finland, 196.343
11. Ukraine, 195.857
12. Spain, 194.543
13. Ireland, 189.143
Individual top ten and British rider placings
1. Lily Marie Collin and Cosmo Callidus NRW, 79.771% (GER)
2. Liezel Everars and FS Capelli De Niro, 74.743% (BEL)
3. Julie Sofie Schmitz-Heinen and Chilly Morning WE, 74.600% (GER)
4. Mia Allegra Lohe and Tovdals Golden Future Imperial, 73.743% (GER)
5. Anna Munkebo and Lyngdal’s Mira Puella, 73.686% (DEN)
6. Maria Teresa Pohl and Der Kleine Sunnyboy WE, 73.514% (GER)
7. Abigail Gray and George Clooney B.S, 72.800% (GBR)
8. Rikke Maria Schoubye Johansen and Lykkesholms Cyperb, 72.229% (DEN)
9. Isabella Karajkovic and First Hummer, 72.228% (NED)
10. Emilie Herweyers and Lesch La Perla, 72.000% (BEL)
18. Sofia Games and Steendieks Cadillac, 69.543% (GBR)
27. Ella Glennon and Amden Supreme Golden Dancer, 68.229% (GBR)
30. Demi Howard-Cartwright and Fin C WE, 67.343% (GBR)
Photo © Les Garennes