A dramatic Team Final unfold at the Pony European Championships in Strzegom, Poland on 16th August 2019 with all three medals having to be fought for in a third-round jump-off.
Having already jumped three rounds, where the best three scores count, Great Britain and Ireland sat at the top of the leaderboard on an equal score of 4 penalties with France and Germany in equal 3rd on 12 penalties.
With medals at stake it meant that all riders, within the four teams, would be forced to come forward and battle it out in a final jump off round to decide the final placings on the podium. First to go were France and Germany, contesting the Bronze medal position. With each rider mirroring each other’s performance as they alternated nations into the arena, it wasn’t until the final rider had jumped that France were declared the Bronze medallists based on a faster cumulative time.
Jump Off for Gold & Silver
The big show down between Great Britain and Ireland came after what must have been a nail-biting time for the riders concerned as they watched the Bronze medal position being contested. Having been able to study the course and see where they could push up the pace it was quite an unbelievable jump off that played out.
Ireland were the first of the teams to come forward opening up by an incredibly fast clear by John Mcentee with Little Smithe in a time of 42.28 seconds. Next in was first for the Brits, Shaunie Greig with Casino Royale. Setting off at an incredible pace, things got a bit hair-raising when she almost got jumped out the saddle halfway round the course. However, she almost miraculously managed to right herself without breaking stride and still finish clear in an even faster time of 40.08 seconds to push GB ahead.
Ireland’s second rider Niamh Mcevoy with Ardfry Skye lay down the gauntlet by posting another zero-penalty round for Ireland in 46.50 seconds. Claudia Moore with Elando van de Roshoeve looked as determined as ever when she set off. And yet again, she delivered when she matched Ireland by posting a clear in an even faster time of 44.88 seconds to pull the Brits even further ahead.
The pressure on Ireland certainly looked like it was taking its toll when their third rider Tom Wachman and Ocean des As had two down to finish on 8 penalties loading extra pressure on their final rider to come. For the Brits, it was Lila Bremner with Lapislazuli who came next in what was her first European Championships. Looking like a veteran, she again posted another clear for the team to return home faultlessly within a time of 45.76 seconds.
As Ireland’s final rider, Max Wachman and Cuffesgrange Cavalidam came forward you could have heard a pin drop around the arena. However, this soon changed when the Irish camp erupted in cheers when they rose to the challenge and managed to claim a lead of just over a second by posting a clear in a time of 40.22 seconds.
The pressure on Holly Truelove’s shoulders as she entered the arena with Rexter D’or must have been incredibly intense as she knew that nothing other than a clear in under 43 seconds would secure the win. Taking her time to steady her thoughts and take a final look around the course she then pushed forward on a fast pace with a view to securing the gold and hopefully achieving yet another clear to match the three she had already achieved in previous rounds. Looking like she was going to achieve just this when she turned extremely tight back to an early vertical to shave some time off, it was a few fences further on when a touch of a top pole saw it topple and relegate GB into the Silver position despite her time of 42.07 seconds.
Clare Whitaker, Chef d’Equipe for the Pony Team and British Showjumping Youth Team Manager said after the presentation ceremony “This was an extremely tough competition, one of the hardest I’ve seen, and each and every team member has been quite outstanding. The pressure they have ridden under has been intense and they have all ridden with talent and maturity that goes far beyond their years. I am so proud of them, I really am.”
The team of four, made up of the following all put in superb results throughout the three days of competition.
Shaunie Greig, aged 16, from Aberdeenshire with Casino Royale, a 16-year-old bay gelding owned by Anne Greig took the role of pathfinder. Jumping clear on the first day, it was an 8 penalty finish on the second before posting a superb clear in this afternoon’s final round followed by her jump off clear.
Claudia Moore, aged 14, from Brentwood, Essex with Elando van de Roshoeve, a 15-year-old bay gelding owned by Katrina Moore was appearing at her second championships having won Team Gold and Individual Bronze last year. They were clear across the first two legs before picking up an unlucky 4 penalties in the third round today before posting her jump off clear.
Lila Bremner, aged 16, from Swindon, Wiltshire with Lapislazuli, a 9-year-old dun gelding owned by Tessa Bremner made her Championship team debut having only recently stepped up to this level. A 4 penalty finish in the opening leg saw them jump clear in the second with two down in the third leg to finish on 8 penalties. Their jump off round saw them put this behind them when they broke the finish line faultlessly.
Holly Truelove, aged 16, from Brigg, Lincolnshire with Rexter d’Or, a 14-year-old grey stallion owned by Barrie Truelove produced the best performance for the team across the initial three legs when they delivered three perfect clear rounds. Their jump off unluckily saw them touch a pole to finish on 4.
Hannah Barker, aged 14, from Northallerton, North Yorkshire with Ammanvalley Santino, a 15-year-old British bred dark bay gelding owned by Lynn Barker was competing as an individual. In their first round, they picked up just 4 penalties before then producing a clear in round two. In round three, it was an 8 penalty finish.
All five combinations will now progress through to the Individual Final on Sunday 18th August after having all finished inside the top thirty. Holly Truelove and Rexter d’Or currently sit in equal first place on 0 penalties with three others. Claudia Moore and Elando van de Roshoeve are in fifth place on 4 penalties.