GOLD!! British Win Eventing European Championship

Credit : Leszek Wójcik Strzegom Horse Trials

Sunday 20 August - 16h07 | Lulu Kyriacou

GOLD!! British Win Eventing European Championship

Eventing title in Strzegom, Poland, which they lost in 2009  having held it for the previous fifteen years. Since those heady days (the team were also World Champions in 2010) there have been no golden moments for the British at any continental  team championship  but a change of management, new selectors and a fair and transparent selection policy  have given the British squad  a new lease of life. In addition  to the team medal, Nicola Wilson also won the individual bronze medal behind two German riders (in case we forget who the main opposition are!) but on this occasion Ingrid Klimke was the victor with Micheal Jung having to settle for silver.  Germany also won team silver with Sweden taking bronze.  

Not the best start......

Not the best start...... - GOLD!! British Win Eventing European Championship

Klimke, Jung and Wilson individual medallist
Credit : Strzegom 2017


The day did not have the best of starts, when Oliver Townend had  to withdraw Cooley SRS because of a slight injury.  Two combinations fro other nations had their horses not accepted at the morning veterinary inspection including Poland's Leading rider  Pawel Spisak who was at that point eleventh on Banderas  and heading for Poland's best ever championship finish.  This concluded a fairly uncomfortable week for the home side, who in spite of running a fantastic championship, also had to contend with the loss of a horse after cross country when Mickal Knap's Bob the Builder was found to be more badly injured than first though.   But the Polish should be thoroughly encouraged that in this championship and Rio last year, they have been competitive and not the least bit outclassed by more experienced nations.
Going back to the showjumping, the course had only produced three clears before the lunch break but after lunch was concluded there wer significantly more zero scores. Including from the first of the German team riders, Julia Krajewski (Samurai du Thot) , who made sure the British would not increase their two fence lead with her clean sheet. 
 

Not the best start...... - GOLD!! British Win Eventing European Championship


Three fantastic clear rounds


Ros Canter was the first of the British team riders into the arena and despite Allstar B tapping several fences and giving British supporters a few worries, she maintained her record of clears in international competition.  Tina Cook and Billy the Red were the next to go and became the first of the four riders inside the time yesterday to go clear and finish on her dressage score. That meant when Nicola Wilson jumped Bulana, she would have a ten penalty cushion, which as it happened she did not need, because once again, at the end of a British round there was a zero score.  This gave the British the gold medal with three riders still left to jump and put Wilson into a medal position if any of the top three faltered over the coloured fences. 

Which is exactly what happened to Sarah Algotsson-Ostholt who  by now must be dreading  the final day at major championships  after losing out at the London Olympics and the 2013 European championships.  On this occasion Reality 39 dropped three rails  and Nicola Wilson  was into thrid with Tina Cook fourth. 

​The performance meant the British team added just a scant two penalties to their team dressage score, which must in itself be some sort of record and is a superb endorsement of Chris Bartle, Richard Waygood and the new selectors that they have made  such a difference in such a short time in charge.
 

Finally an individual title for Klimke

Finally an individual title for Klimke - GOLD!! British Win Eventing European Championship

Ingrid Klimke
Credit : Scoopdyga


For a few moments, British hopes must have been high  for more individual medals but Michael Jung has not been a double Olympic, World and European Champion for nothing.  A masterful round on FischerRocana gave him silver at worst with only his team mate Klimke between him and fourth European title.  Klimke's dramas of this year have been eventing headlines.  Her disastrous showjumping round at Badminton which cost her the title, followed by an equally  disastrous last fence run out on the cross country at Wiesbaden when leading the Event Rider Masters section cannot have filled her with confidence.  On this occasion, only a clear  round would give her gold and if she failed to complete, that would be the end of Germany's team silver because they were down to three riders and her score (or not!) would count.

But this time Klimke  rode the way that a champion should and was effortlessly clear to take gold.  No one from any nation would begrudge her this honour, she is one of the most popular riders on the circuit and has spent the last few years in the shadow of her legendary team mate.

“You just have to keep going and after 20 years it will happen! I always want to be a team player, but this was my dream”

​The full result is http://www.results.strzegom2017.pl/ and we will bring you another report with rider reactions and show jumping images shortly.
 

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