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Ponies do GBR proud at European Championship

last updated on August 25, 2016 15:31

Ponies do GBR proud at European Championship

Last week, an all-new Pony team set sail for Vilhelmsborg, Denmark to contest the Pony European Championships (17 – 21 August 2016). With the competition marking the first international championship for all four team members, the fabulous quartet performed beyond all expectations.

Stepping in to replace Ottilie Bardsley, who had to bow out at the last minute, the youngest of the crew, 12-year-old Izzy Lickley was first to go in the Team test. Aboard pony stalwart, 18-year-old German-bred gelding Gigolo – owned by Izzy’s parents, Nicola and Rob Lickley – Izzy rode a fantastic and mature test, clearly unfazed by any self-pressure a championship can often bring, to score a solid 67.256%.

At the half-way point of their Team test, Abingdon’s Maddy Whelan and her own seven-year-old British-bred mare, Ode to Shannon were impressingly averaging more than 70%. A couple of costly mistakes may have brought their mark down to 66.923% - still a great score – but their test proved that they are definitely ones to watch for the future.

13-year-old Sophie Taylor may have only been competing Becky Moody’s 11-year-old Wolhoeve’s Silco-sired mare, Madam’s Miss Maria since January this year, but they are already set on leaving their mark in British dressage as the pair posted a solid score for the team of 68.795% - one judge awarded the pair a nine for their entry and halt. The final member of the team was 16-year-old Lara Kuropatwa. Her last year in ponies, Lara and Sam Brown’s nine-year-old son of Caesar 171, Le Chiffre (pictured) stormed into the top ten, with a fabulous score of 70.744%, securing fourth place for Team GBR.

“As my first year being team trainer for the pony squad, I am immensely proud of our young, rookie team.” Announced the proud Pony Team Trainer, Darryl Thickitt from his Facebook page. “The four of them rode beautiful, mature tests with a couple of unlucky mistakes and as a team, they have held their own, finishing fourth out of 15 strong teams, just missing out on a medal. A fantastic team spirit throughout the competition so far, supporting each other at every opportunity and Team GBR camp has been a hive of activity. I would like to wish the ladies good luck for the rest of the show and let’s build on our experience of our first Europeans!”

With the team placings decided, attention turned to the individual tests. First up once again, Staffordshire-based Izzy and Gigolo scored a well-earned 65.195%, despite not being on top form:

“Well today was not quite my day,” announced Izzy. “Gigs cut himself on Tuesday and couldn't be worked yesterday. No excuses but our preparation was not quite what it needed to be and our mark reflected that. So proud of him and some good marks in the mix. A great experience and lots to learn from it. That's my show over now so looking forward to supporting Sophie, Maddie and Lara in individual. Thanks to everyone for their support.”

Despite a few mistakes, Sophie and Dot – as Madam’s Miss Maria is known at home – continued their solid run of form in the Individual test to post a score 67.439% and place 22nd in a mega hot class. Another combination to maintain their performance level with an impressive score of 70.268% was Lara and Le Chiffre – aka Peanut – who secured their place in the Freestyle with an 11th placing. Learning from the previous Team test, Maddy and ‘Liffey’ burst into the arena and rode the test of their career, producing an international personal best of 71.854% to place ninth.

In the Freestyle, both Maddy and Lara rode two brilliant tests filled with technically demanding movements – Maddy performed a one-handed extended trot and Lara strutted her stuff with a one-handed ten metre circle in counter canter. Both rode for gold, did their country proud and placed in the top ten, Lara ended her Pony career on a high with a brilliant score of 71.200% for eighth whilst Maddy and Liffey weren’t far behind in ninth on another great mark, 70.875%.

“We are coming to the end of the most memorable week,” exclaimed a delighted Maddy. “I would never have thought that within two years of riding my first prelim test on five year old Liffey we would be riding our first FEI test, then eight months later coming the ninth […] at the European Pony Championships in the Individual test and the Kur.”

Huge thanks go to Pony Team Trainer, Darryl Thickitt, all of the Team GBR support team, the World Class Programme – funded by UK Sport Lottery funding, LeMieux, NAF and the Pidgleys for hosting the Pre-European Team Camp.

For full results, click here.


1st – Germany, 222.666
2nd – Denmark, 217.513
3rd – Netherlands, 216.077
4th – Great Britain, 206.795

Pony Team test

1st – Lucie-Anouk Baumgurtel (GER) with Massimiliano 3, 75.051%
10th – Lara Kuropatwa (GBR) with Le Chiffre, 70.744%
14th – Sophie Taylor (GBR) with Madam’s Miss Maria, 68.795%
25th – Izzy Lickley (GBR) with Gigolo, 67.256%
28th – Maddy Whelan (GBR) with Ode to Shannon, 66.923%

Pony Individual
1st – Lucie- Anouk Baumgurtel (GER) with Massimiliano 3, 76.244%
9th – Maddy Whelan (GBR) with Ode to Shannon, 71.854%
11th – Lara Kuropatwa (GBR) with Le Chiffre, 70.268%
22nd – Sophie Taylor (GBR) with Madam’s Miss Maria, 67.439%
39th – Izzy Lickley (GBR) with Gigolo, 65.195%

Pony Freestyle
1st – Lucie-Anouk Baumgurtel (GER) with Massimiliano 3, 81.125%
8th – Lara Kuropatwa (GBR) with Le Chiffre, 71.200%
9th – Maddy Whelan (GBR) with Ode to Shannon, 70.875%