Pony European Championships 2018
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After eight years travelling around the continent, the prestigious FEI Pony European Championships returned to British soil last week. Five days of fierce competition took place at the fantastic East Yorkshire venue, Bishop Burton College, with Team NAF putting in experience gaining performances and earning some strong results across the board.
Germany dominate team standings
The team competition was won once again by a consistent German team, who soared to victory despite a challenging ride for their anchorwoman, former twice European Pony Champion Lucie-Anouk Baumgurtel. Denmark travel home with a team Silver medal, whilst an enthusiastic squad from Holland capitalized on their time in the arena to earn the Bronze.
It was fourth place for Team NAF, consisting of Sophie Taylor, Annabella Pidgley, Isobel Lickley and Megan Barratt, after four great tests at the start of the competition.
16-year-old Megan and her mother Sue’s Valido’s Starlight (Valido x Capri Moon) acted as pathfinders for Great Britain; their solid test gained 69.71% from the panel of judges made up of Carlos Lopes (POR), Elke Ebert (GER), Jacques Van Daele (BEL), Isobel Wessels (GB) and Yuri Romanov (RUS). A couple of small mistakes just kept the score from hitting the high notes but the experienced pair showed some quality work throughout that helped them to produce a team bronze medal performance in Kaposvar’s Championships this time last year.
Staffordshire-based rider Isobel Lickley returned to Team NAF following her debut appearance in 2016. Her partner this time was the half-sister of Valido’s Starlight, Rob and Nicky Lickley’s Valido’s Sunshine. Isobel and the charming 15-year-old mare impressed to score 70.37%, a mark that combined with team-mate Megan’s left Team NAF in a handy fourth place before the second day of competition.
Team NAF debutant Annabella Pidgley pulled out the stops with her mother Sarah’s stunning mare Ine. Their strong partnership was evident in their work which resulted in a brilliant test worthy of 71.25%. Looking towards next year, the future looks bright for this combination who notched up several eights throughout their round for work in collected trot, collected canter and the simple changes.
Anchor rider Sophie Taylor brought a new ride to this year’s Championships, her final appearance as a Pony rider, in the form of the talented seven-year-old George Clooney BS. Sophie and George had a lot to do to put Britain on the podium but they didn’t let the pressure affect them and showed some high quality work to earn Britain’s highest team test score, 71.31%. The British-bred pony has been produced by Sophie over a number of years, so this was without doubt a very proud moment for the Lancashire-based young lady.
Doing it for the boys
This year’s Individual competition was dominated by Moritz Treffinger of Germany and his dancing partner Top Queen H (Top Anthony II x Dark Rubin). The duo set the standard in the team test and carried their momentum through to their second test; a score of 77.18% was good enough to earn them the top honours. Alexander Yde Helgstrand and Adriano B took the runner up spot for Denmark by less than half a mark over Germany’s Yana Lang with the experienced campaigner NK Cyrill.
Sophie Taylor and George Clooney BS earned the highest accolades for Team NAF in the challenging individual test. Their performance earned 20th spot with a creditable 69.40%. Annabella Pidgley and Isobel Lickley encountered a couple of blips amongst some otherwise superb work. It was an eventual 26th and 27th place for the two young riders who earned 68.48% and 68.45% respectably. For Megan Barratt and Valido’s Starlight, a tough time inside the white boards resulted in 62.73% and 49th place. We all know that horses aren’t machines, well done to all of our riders for a stellar effort!
Treffinger takes the hat-trick
The Freestyle to Music final was not short of excitement and the judges were treated to 18 high standard performances to conclude the week.
Germany’s Moritz Treffinger added a third gold medal to his collection after scoring a win in the Freestyle, 81.87% was the reward for his near-perfect performance. Young Dane Alexander Yde Helgstrand showed his pedigree once again to take home his third silver medal of the Championships, whilst the in-form combination of Julia Barbian and Der Kleine Konig found their rhythm on the final day of action to bag themselves a bronze.
For Sophie Taylor, our sole representative in the freestyle test, it was a score of 72.04% and 14th place. Speaking about her young star George Clooney BS on Facebook Sophie said, “A great end to the Pony Europeans with George through to the Freestyle. [He was] such a super star form start to finish and has been very mature for such a young pony. There’s a lot more to come! Thank you to everyone involved.”
Onwards and upwards
Congratulations to all four of our riders for their results. Thanks go to NAF, LeMieux and Land Rover for their support of our Under 21s international teams, as well as to all those behind the scenes at the Championship who contributed to the riders’ success.
British Dressage looks forward to another busy summer of FEI Championships in 2019. With viewing days for Ponies, Juniors, Young Riders and Children on Horses taking place next month, there’s plenty of opportunity for the next group of talented jockeys to start their campaign in style. If you’re interested in find out more about how to get involved with international competition, click here.
1st Moritz Treffinger with Top Queen H, 77.42% (GER)
12th Sophie Taylor with George Clooney BS, 71.31% (GBR)
=13th Annabella Pidgley with Ine, 71.25% (GBR)
=17th Isobel Lickley with Valido’s Sunshine, 70.37% (GBR)
21st Megan Barratt with Valido’s Starlight, 69.71% (GBR)
1st Germany, 226.286
2nd Denmark, 219.028
3rd Netherlands, 218.715
4th Great Britain, 212.94
1st Moritz Treffinger with Top Queen H, 77.18% (GER)
20th Sophie Taylor with George Clooney BS, 69.40% (GBR)
26th Annabella Pidgley with Ine, 68.48% (GBR)
27th Isobel Lickley with Valido’s Sunshine, 68.455 (GBR)
49th Megan barratt with Valido’s Starlight, 62.73% (GBR)
Freestyle to Music
1st Moritz Treffinger with Top Queen H, 81.87% (GER)
14th Sophie Taylor with George Clooney BS, 72.05% (GBR)