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Brits make vast improvement at 2008 Junior and Young Rider Euros

last updated on July 24, 2008 20:22

Brits make vast improvement at 2008 Junior and Young Rider Euros
Both of Britain’s teams made a vast improvement this past year with the juniors finishing fifth, only a little more than three points away from a bronze medal, at the 2008 European Junior and Young Rider Championships in Azeitao, Portugal, 16-20 July.
Junior chef d’equipe Islay Auty said: “We were fifth by the skin of our teeth. We had several horses who suffered from the four-day journey here in the intense heat and needed careful veterinary treatment, including fluids. It was nearly 40°C at the end of the team competition day and Don Perry was certainly still suffering the after-effects of the journey and ran out of steam towards the end of the test.”
Despite these difficulties, the junior team of Rebecca Drane and Half Moon Bardolino (18th), Keri Bates and Donna Parina (22nd) Melissa Bates and Celestial King (23rd) and Alexandria Barr and Don Perry (34th) finished a creditable fifth out of 11 teams.
This was Rebecca’s first time on a British team and it is her last as a junior.
“She was magnificent, particularly as she is so inexperienced,” said Islay of Rebecca, who has regular help from Judy Harvey.
The young riders finished sixth with Charlie Hutton and Abira in 17th, Lara Griffith and Warlock 18th, Amber de Savary and Diamond Fritz 29th and Zoe Sleigh and Orvieto 34th.
“The young riders have made a vast improvement on last year. Charlie was on the junior team then and he has moved up to this level fabulously. Charlie, Lara and junior rider Keri are all on the World Class Development Programme and credit must be given to that programme for advancing these riders who gave the overall strength to the teams,” said Islay, who praised the excellent team spirit in the British camp.
Islay also gave credit to team vet Andre Buthe: “He has been phenomenal. We wouldn’t be where we are without him.”

Keri Bates and Donna Parrina moved up to 11th place in the junior individual test and went on to take ninth in the freestyle with an impressive 69.2%. Keri, who is 17, has competed the 11-year-old 16.1hh bay mare by Donnerhall since 2006 and was also on the junior team last year.

In the young rider section, Lara Griffith and Warlock were the best Brits, finishing 15th in the individual test and 12th in the freestyle. Lara, 19, was a member of the junior team in 2006 with the now 16-year-old 16.2hh chesnut gelding by Werther and this year their wins include the Intermediaire II Freestyle Winter Championships.

A message from the selectors

The selectors would like to thank everybody – rider, parents, grooms, trainers, chef d’equipe’s, vet, drivers and supporters for all their hard work, dedication and contribution to the trip to Portugal.
It is due to your commitment and effort that we achieved a respectable result.
Thank you all.
          Sally,         Helen,        Judy
Sally Merrison, Helen Webber, Judy Firmston-Williams