Visit our shop Join BD View forums

Your shopping basket
is currently empty.


Junior and Young Rider European Championships

last updated on July 27, 2016 09:39

Junior and Young Rider European Championships

Last week, eight young riders, their teams and horses travelled overseas to Oliva Nova, Spain to represent Great Britain in the Junior and Young Rider European Championships (19 – 24 July 2016).

With three out of the four Junior team members having made the step up from ponies this year, it was a new and exciting chapter for the youth teams of British dressage. The Spanish sun was scorching and the atmosphere was electric for the Junior Team tests; 16-year-old Rebecca Bell was first on with Robert and Susan Fearis’ Waranos, who were selected after a great run of form since their partnership began late last year. Despite some fantastic work in the canter earning several eights, some mistakes in the trot work and walk pirouettes proved costly, earning a score of 66.973%. The championship atmosphere proved a little too much for Britain’s next combination, Alex Hellings and Sonia Baines’ 15-year-old Krack C gelding, Uvender V, allowing some tension to creep in. However the pair also showed some great work and promise, finishing with a mark of 65.568%.

Gloucestershire’s Phoebe Peters ruled the roost in Ponies with her faithful partner, SL Lucci. Stepping up to Juniors with her new ride, Debbie Stibbe’s lovely 17-year-old KWPN gelding, Denford Surprise (pictured), meant all eyes were on the reigning Pony champion to see if she could successfully make the step up – and boy did she. Achieving a personal best, Phoebe and Parker – as Denford Surprise is fondly known as – scored a strong 70.324% to eventually place just outside the top ten – a fantastic achievement for the combination.

“Can't quite believe it Parker and I finished 11th out of 65 today with a score of 70.3%!” exclaimed Phoebe from her Facebook page. “I'm so proud of Parker, he tried his best and we definitely performed some of our best work to date. I was even happier to score a personal best! I'm so thankful to Parker's owners Debbie and Eddy Stibbe for giving me the opportunity to ride at my first Junior Europeans on such a wonderful horse.”

Last year in the Team test, Charlotte Dicker and Ian McRobbie’s Sabatini scored 63.86% in their first ever European Championships. A year on, Charlotte and the 11-year-old Stedinger mare showed how much they had grown and improved, earning a solid 67.973% and securing the team’s place in eighth.

In the arena across from the Juniors were the Young Riders, with Joanna Thurman-Baker riding first in the Team test. Under the strong Spanish sun and aboard her sister Samantha’s 14-year-old German gelding Highcliffe Apollo, she scored an uncharacteristic mark of 63.632%, in comparison to the plus-70% scores they’ve been regularly receiving this year.

21-year-old Amy Schiessl performed well in what will be her last Europeans as a Young Rider. With her partner of over eight years, her own 15-year-old British-bred gelding Mr Mercury, she scored a Young Rider personal best of 69.579%.

“What a day!!” announced Amy on Facebook. “Mr Mercury was a super boy in the Team Test and we scored 69.57! To say I'm happy is an understatement!”

Another Team test personal best was gained by Berskhire’s Becky Edwards and Dr Margaret Cox’s Portuguese stallion, Ufano with an impressive score of 69.421% to place 17th and claim eighth place for the Young Rider team.

Glasgow-based Robyn Smith and her partner, Gail Smith’s 18-year-old British-bred gelding, Foold Uz  have had a successful 2016 with top ten placings at Keysoe and Saumur CDIs to name a few, however faced great challenges out of their control in the neighbouring arena in Spain, scoring 60.316% in the Team test.

With the team placings decided, focus turned to combinations for the Junior and Young Rider Individual tests. In the Junior Individual tests, Rebecca and the 13-year-old son of Fidermark – known as Tango at home – suffered some expensive errors to score 64.000%.

“Horses are great levellers and today proved that!” stated Rebecca. “Even though Tango and I coped pretty well with the heat, and he felt fantastic going around the outside, our test was not what we were hoping for, we were on a totally different wavelength and had lots of errors. However, even though this championship has not gone entirely to plan, Tango has produced some fantastic work and I have learnt loads, as well as having a huge amount of fun with my team mates.”

Not far behind, Charlotte and Sabatini scored 63.737% whilst Alex and Uvender V scored 63.553%. Phoebe and Parker built on their fantastic Team test results and achieved 70.816% in the Individual to place 11th and qualify for the following day’s Junior Freestyle, where they scored a whopping 72.375 for ninth – their first top ten placing on international soil.

“Today was the best end to the best week,” declared Phoebe. “Parker and I scored 72.3% to finish 9th in the Junior Kür this morning! It was our first ever ride through of a new freestyle, which was amazingly produced by my sister Camille. It was the most brilliant feeling to make the top ten at my first Junior Europeans, I'm so grateful to everyone who [has] made it possible! It's been a wonderful experience with so many great people, and to share the whole thing with Parkers owners Debbie and Eddy Stibbe was also very special.”

Over in the Young Rider Individual tests, Robyn and Foold Uz had settled and it was business as usual, scoring a solid 67.789% for 25th with Amy and Mr Mercury a couple of places behind in 28th on a score of 66.921%. Joanna and Highcliffe Apollo may have struggled again in the Individual test, scoring 63.079%, but the 18-year-old handled their difficulties with great maturity:

“This championship hasn’t been for us,” announced Joanna from her Instagram page. “We had another difficult test today. [It’s] all experience and I now can’t wait to get back and train for the next set of competitions.”

Becky and Ufano celebrated another great test, with 68.105% in the Individual. Qualifying through to the Young Rider Freestyle, Becky and her partner of four years scored 67.450% for 17th place.

Thanks must go to team vet Rob Oulton, Chef d’Equipes Cara Hayward and Nina Boex, support trainer David Hunt, all team grooms and the selectors – Islay Auty, Leanne Wall and Andrea Smith – who offered such fantastic support to the riders and ensured they had to worry about nothing except performing to the best of their ability.

A massive thanks also to NAF, Land Rover and LeMieux, who provided such great support to the Junior and Young Rider teams, and Sarah & Tony Pidgley for kindly hosting the pre-European team camp.

For full results, click here.

Photo courtesy of Phoebe Peters Dressage.

Junior Team test
1st – Semmieke Rothenberger (GER) with Dissertation, 77.351%
11th – Phoebe Peters (GBR) with Denford Surprise, 70.324%
29th – Charlotte Dicker (GBR) with Sabatini, 67.973%
37th – Rebecca Bell (GBR) with Waranos, 66.865%
44th – Alex Hellings (GBR) with Uvender V, 65.568%

Team result
1st – Germany, 224.000
2nd – Netherlands, 220.136
3rd – Denmark. 212.405
8th – Great Britain, 205.162

Junior Individual
1st – Hannah Erbe (GER) with Carlos 609, 77.658%
11th – Phoebe Peters (GBR) with Denford Surprise, 70.816%
50th – Rebecca Bell (GBR) with Waranos, 64.000%
51st – Charlotte Dicker (GBR) with Sabatini, 63.737%
53rd – Alex Hellings (GBR) with Uvender V, 63.553%

Junior Freestyle
1st – Hanna Erbe (GER) with Carlos 609, 81.625%
9th – Phoebe Peters (GBR) with Denford Surprise, 72.375%

Young Rider Team test
1st – Jeanine Nieuwenhuis (NED) with TC Athene, 76.947%
15th – Amy Schiessl (GBR) with Mr Mercury, 69.579%
17th – Becky Edwards (GBR) with Ufano, 69.421%
52nd – Joanna Thurman-Baker (GBR) with Highcliffe Apollo, 63.632%
57th – Robyn Smith (GBR) with Foold Uz, 60.316%

Team result
1st – Germany, 221.842
2nd – Netherlands, 220.552
3rd – Denmark, 213.869
8th – Great Britain, 202.632

Young Rider Individual
1st – Jeanine Nieuwenhuis (NED) with TC Athene, 78.974%
20th – Becky Edwards (GBR) with Ufano, 68.105%
25th – Robyn Smith (GBR) with Foold Uz, 67.789%
28th – Amy Schiessl (GBR) with Mr Mercury, 66.921%
52nd – Joanna Thurman-Baker with Highcliffe Apollo, 63.079%

Young Rider Freestyle
1st – Jeanine Nieuwenhuis (NED) with TC Athene, 81.000%
17th – Becky Edwards (GBR) with Ufano, 67.450%