Visit our shop Join BD View forums

Your shopping basket
is currently empty.


Team NAF Young Riders just miss a medal

last updated on August 16, 2017 13:26

Team NAF Young Riders just miss a medal

It was a close fought competition for the team medals at this year’s Young Rider European Championships in Roosendaal, the Netherlands (7 – 13 August 2017). Germany were dominant for gold and the Netherlands had the edge for silver but the Team NAF quartet were in a firm Scandinavian tussle for the bronze with Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

In the end, Sweden secured the medal, but just 3.2% separated the four countries, with Norway fourth and Britain in fifth, 2.6% adrift of a prized bronze.


Our pathfinders were Joanna Thurman-Baker (19) and 15-year-old Highcliffe Apollo (s. Der Lenz), owned by her sister Samantha and with a number of 70%+ small tour scores this spring and the duo enjoying their second Europeans together, hopes were high. The start of the test emulated that form but the championship atmosphere began to get the better of ‘Apollo’ to the cost of the marks for the canter work. A final score of 66.78% got the team off to a solid start.

Second to go was Ellie McCarthy, making her first team appearance with Olivia Oakeley’s Donna Summer, making his sixth! The pair came together in 2016 and spent the majority of the year cementing their partnership before coming out this year with selection as their goal. A number of top ten placings at internationals with great scores earned them the spot in Roosendaal. Ellie gave the British camp a big thumbs up when she finished, clearly delighted with their test and mark of 68.21%. She later said she was ‘happy but Rio was a bit strong’; the Dimaggio-sire 16 year old clearly enjoyed the Championship stage.

Day two and it was the turn of World Class Podium Potential rider Rebecca Edwards. This was to be her third and final Young Rider team appearance but this time with a new partner, Sarah Oppenheimer’s Headmore Delegate (s. Dimaggio). The duo came together in April this year and have quickly gelled and impressed at Hagen in Germany in June to secure selection. Some last minute advice from trainer Carl Hester gave them just what they needed and 68.78% was the score, a great addition to the team total to keep the medal hopes alive.

It was then down to Charlotte Fry riding Dark Legend (s. Zucchero) for Anne Van Olst, where she’s stable jockey. At just nine, ‘Darky’ was one of the youngest horses in the competition but Charlotte has ample Championship experience for a young rider and the combination thrives in the competition arena. Plus they travelled to Roosendaal ranked third in the world. They produced a confident test and 71.55% was the final score which left them fifth individually.

Four good scores but just short of a place on the podium for our talented combinations in very strong competition.

On to the Individual test and the combinations had plenty of positives to take forward. Joanna Thurman-Baker rode for a safe, clear round to help Apollo ‘put those Championship demons firmly to bed’ which paid off for 68.94%. Ellie and Rio were on fine form and bettered their team score with 69.15% as were Becky and Del who broke that magic barrier with 70.55% for 12th position. Charlotte and Darky had just a few small errors which kept their score in check at 70.57% for 11th.
Sadly, Joanna and Apollo just missed out on a place in Sunday’s Freestyle but age is on her side so hopefully the duo can contest for a place at next year’s Championships.

Our three remaining combinations all rode brilliantly on the final day to end the Champonships, and their Young Rider careers, on a high. Ellie and Rio posted 68.77% to finish 15th while Becky and Del were going great guns with scores of sevens and eights for the trot work but some mistakes in the canter cost a bumper score, but a 70.60% and 12th place was a great end. Charlotte has a flair for Freestyle and she clearly put it to great effect with a final score of 74.37 with the Van Olst’s young star to finish sixth overall.

All in all, a great Championships for the Team NAF Young Riders – congratulations to the entire team who made it all happen in Roosendaal including team vet Robert Oulton, Chefs d’Equipe Cara Hayward and Nina Boex for keeping everything running so efficiently and Carl Hester for giving the riders his invaluable support. Huge thanks also to NAF for their sponsorship of the British team and to official supplier, LeMieux.

Congratulations too to Germany for a great team performance and to individual Hannah Erbe who rode Carlos 609 to double gold, never scoring under 77% - certainly a combination to watch with interest.


Young Rider Ream Test
1st Hannah Erbe with Carlos 609 (GER), 77.34%
5th Charlotte Fry with Dark Legend (GBR), 71.55%
15th Rebecca Edwards with Headmore Delegate (GBR), 68.78%
21st Ellie McCarthy with Donna Summer (GBR), 68.21%
38th Joanna Thurman-Baker with Highcliffe Apollo (GBR), 66.57%

Young Rider Team Result
1. Germany – 222.421
Luca Michels with Rendezvous 91, 71.02%
Semmieke Rothenberger with Geisha, 71.05%
Anna-Christina Abbelen with First Lady 212, 74.02%
Hannah Erbe with Carlos 609, 77.34%

2. Netherlands – 214.184
Bo Oudhof with Colt Sollenburg, 67.71%
Jasmien de Koeyer with Esperanza, 72.26%
Lisanne Zoutendijk with Kostendrukkers Ringo Star, 69.15%
Esmee Donkers with Chaina, 72.76%

3. Sweden – 211.159
Ludwig Wilken with Capo Knight, 68.02%
Sofie Andersson with Csi, 70.57%
Emelie Aldenfalk with Winton, 70.02%
Cecilia Bergåkra Berglund with Primavera, 70.55%

5. Great Britain – 208.552
Joanna Thurman-Baker with Highcliffe Apollo, 66.57%
Rebecca Edwards with Headmore Delegate, 68.78%
Ellie McCarthy with Donna Summer, 68.21%
Charlotte Fry with Dark Legend, 71.55%

Young Rider Individual Test
1st Hannah Erbe with Carlos 609 (GER), 77.65%
11th Charlotte Fry with Dark Legend (GBR), 70.57%
12th Rebecca Edwards with Headmore Delegate (GBR), 70.55%
16th Ellie McCarthy with Donna Summer (GBR), 69.15%
18th Joanna Thurman-Baker with Highcliffe Apollo (GBR), 68.94%

Young Rider Freestyle
1st Hannah Erbe with Carlos 609 (GER), 80.32%
6th Charlotte Fry with Dark Legend (GBR), 74.37%
12th Rebecca Edwards with Headmore Delegate (GBR), 70.60%
15th Ellie McCarthy with Donna Summer (GBR), 68.77%

Full results – click here

Photos c Adam Fanthorpe