Great Britain fourth at the FEI Pony European Championships

  • Written By: British Dressage | Joanna Bowns
  • Published: Thu, 04 Aug 2022 15:24 GMT

British Pony riders put up an admirable challenge in today’s concluding part of the team competition at the FEI Pony European Championships in Strzegom, Poland (03 – 07 August 2022). Led by Mette Dahl and George Clooney B.S, who delivered an outstanding team test this afternoon, Great Britain has achieved fourth place behind Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark in the 16-nation team contest.

Ruby Hughes and Hilkens Showgirl

Britain's third team duo, Ruby Hughes with Hilkens Showgirl (Dreidimensional x Champion De Luxe) - pictured above, who competed here in Strzegom at the 2021 FEI Pony European Championships, were the first British contenders down the centre line this morning. Shirley Rixon’s nine-year-old palomino mare appeared a little distracted at times and didn’t give Ruby the easiest of rides; however, Ruby (14) did a sterling job drawing on her experience and know-how to show plenty of good work with this talented pony to conclude her performance on a creditable score of 69.686% towards the team total.

With the final rotation of riders coming forward, it was the turn of British team anchor Mette Dahl (16) – the fourth and final Brit to take to the stage in the team competition. With her mother Fiona Bigwood’s grey gelding, George Clooney B.S (Caesar 171 x Santano) - pictured below, with whom she was a triple winner at Keysoe CDI in March, Mette delivered an expressive, polished round that attracted plenty of eights on the score sheet, including two eights for the general impression.

Mette Dahl George and Clooney B.S

A big smile from Mette after the final halt indicated how delighted she was, and this was confirmed by a final score of 73.057% from the panel, made up of Alban Tissot (FRA) at E, Agnieszka Majewska (POL) at H, Carlo Lopes (POR) at C, Barbara Ardu (ITA) at M and Isobel Wessels (GBR) at B. This super performance elevated Mette and ‘George’ into provisional sixth place individually, at the same time lifting the British team to fourth.

As the competition continued to unfold, Great Britain held on to their position to finish just outside the podium on a team total of 214.229 - a positive start for the quartet as they head into the individual phase of the championships starting tomorrow.

Germany’s overnight leader, Mia Allegra Lohe with Tovdals Golden Future Imperial, was relegated to second place by teammate Julie Sofie Schmitz-Heinen with Carleo Go. The individual leader board topper earned a fantastic score of 77.943% making them one of the favourites going into the Individual.

British riders occupy the following individual placings: 10th for Mette Dahl and George Clooney B.S, 19th for Sofia Games and Next Black Magic (who rode yesterday), 28th for Ruby Hughes with Hilkens Showgirl, and 50th for Lauren Geraghty and WS Jackson (who also rode yesterday) out of a total of 62 starters. The Individual competition takes place tomorrow and Saturday, from which the top 18 individually placed combinations go through to Sunday’s Freestyle finale where a further set of FEI medals will be awarded.

All four British combinations are drawn to ride their Individual Test tomorrow - Ruby Hughes at 14:18 (13:18 BST), Sofia Games at 14:26 (13:26 BST), Mette Dahl at 15:13 (14:13 BST) and Lauren Geraghty at 15:53 (14:53 BST). Click here for details of how to watch and follow the competition live.

Pony team results
1. Germany – 226.371
2. Netherlands – 223.298
3. Denmark – 221.800
4. Great Britain – 214.229
5. Belgium – 213.972
6. France – 212.057
7. Switzerland – 211.257
8. Poland – 210.715
9. Italy – 210.628
10. Sweden – 208.857
11. Finland – 205.714
12. Austria – 202.486
13. Ireland – 202.285
14. Norway – 201.943
15. Ukraine – 199.629
16. Spain – 133.115


Photo © Adam Fanthorpe