Southampton’s Chloe Lemieux, London’s Olivia Sponer and Cranleigh’s Phoebe Farman help British Team NAF’s Children on Horses team score a Nations Cup win for Great Britain.
As the Dutch Youngster Festival drew to close on the Sunday evening of 16th August 2020 at Wierden in The Netherlands, it was the Children’s Nations Cup competition that brought the four-day annual show to a close. The show, which has been an incredibly successful one for Great Britain’s four youth squads competing under the title sponsor banner of Team NAF, had already seen a win earlier in the day with the Pony Nations Cup team along with a 4th place finish for the Juniors and a joint second yesterday for the Young Riders in their own respective Nations Cup competitions.
The four Grand Prix competitions which spanned Pony, Children, Junior and Young Rider levels had taken place earlier on in the show and had also seen Great Britain secure three of the four when they won the Pony, Junior and Young Rider ones as well as having other riders sitting high up in the line-up alongside the winners.
Yesterday it was yet another victory, this time in the form of the Children’s team. Their win wasn’t claimed until the very last rider had come forward to jump clear and give GB a zero-penalty finish score after two rounds of jumping by each of the four riders. This meant that home nation The Netherlands and Belgium had to be happy with a joint second place with them both sitting one fence behind on 4 penalties.
For Great Britain it was Chloe Lemieux, aged 14 from Southampton in Hampshire that opened for team with her father Robert’s 11-year-old bay mare Barika van de Helle. A very strong and impressive first round saw return home clear in the first round before going on to deliver exactly the same in the second.
For Olivia Sponer, aged 13 from London with the 11-year-old bay mare Crazy Girl owned by her mother Jennifer, it was also a superb performance that saw them post a clear in both rounds to give Great Britain the solid foundation they needed to maintain an early lead.
For Sophie Evans, aged 13 from Burton-on-Trent with MHS La Scala a 12-year-old mare owned by ESM Equestrian, things were a little unsettled for them in the first round which saw 12 penalties awarded when they lowered an early vertical and the first element of the combination which followed plus a front pole of an oxer. It was great to see them come back in the second round by putting the first one behind them and finish with just an unfortunate 4 penalties picked up at the penultimate fence.
Phoebe Farman, aged 14 from Cranleigh in Surrey, who took the role of anchor for the team, had put in a fantastic clear in the first round with the 20 year-old Calle owned by Tracy & Penelope Priest. Her second and final round came with considerable pressure on her shoulders as she knew that if the team were to win, then nothing but a clear would do.
Riding with great maturity she did just this and it was an elated Phoebe that rode through the finish line clear within the time allowed to give GB the final push into pole position.