British Ponies In European Gold Rush
Home nation Great Britain triumphed in the team eventing on the final day of the European Championships for Ponies 2018. And just to seal the deal on their superiority, the British also won gold in the showjumping!
Eventing.It was a case of double delight for Saffie Osborne, 16, who followed-up the team win with individual gold at the championships, held at Bishop Burton College.
The final day’s competition was excellent for spectators, but less so for the nerves of competitors, with a cat’s whisker between the top three medal positions. As the afternoon’s showjumping phase developed, Saffie had the luxury of knowing she could knock down a fence and still win gold for the team and herself.
The win was the icing on the cake for the end of Saffie’s career in ponies. She took the individual and team silver medals in the championships in Hungary last year, so to go one further and win was the fairy tale she and her family had been dreaming of.
In September she will return to school to start her A-levels but has already set her sights on following in her father’s footsteps and becoming a jockey.
Saffie’s father is Wetherby-born former jockey Jamie Osborne, now a Lambourn trainer. Her pony, Little Indian Feather,was rescued from a roadside in Tipperary as a two-year-old.
Team Ireland took the silver medal, with France returning home with the bronze medal.
Sophie Foyle, of Ireland, took the individual silver medal position behind Saffie’s gold, with GB’S Daisy Proctor, 15, from Lincolnshire, taking bronze.
In addition to Saffie and Daisy, the other team GB eventing members were Hattie Grace, 16, from Northamptonshire, and Ellie Healy, 16, from Wiltshire.
ShowjumpingTeam GB scooped gold in the team showjumping on day three of the competition, held at Bishop Burton College, to the delight of the home crowd. As other nations started to struggle during the second round of the big team competition course, the GB girls kept their cool and knew they had the gold medal in the bag after third rider Perdi Digby posted a clear. Although the gold was won, Nicole Lockhead Anderson still rode her final round - yet another clear - to keep her very much in the running for Sunday’s individual medals.
Horse & Country television’s Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes told viewers to “get your slippers - it’s going to be a long night” as it became clear Sweden had taken silver but that there would have to be a jump-off for bronze medal position. All four of French and Irish riders had to go again, this time against the clock. It went to the absolute wire, with France shaving a few precious seconds off the time and eventually taking the bronze podium position. The competition, which was scheduled to finish at around 5pm, kept everybody on the edge of their seats until nearly 8pm.
Even though Clare’s children have been out of ponies for a long time, she has a reputation as somebody who is keen on encouraging young talent and giving something back to the sport that has played such a huge part in her family’s life.
Individually Swedish rider Ingemar Hammarstrom is the new European pony showjumping champion. The 15-year-old, riding the bay gelding Ocean Des As, kept his cool in a nailbiting finish which went to the absolute wire to claim gold at the FEI European Championships for Ponies 2018.
The win brought to a close some superb showjumping action at the championships, held at Bishop Burton College.
Silver went to Ireland’s Max Wachman, with the bronze medal position having to be decided by a jump off between France’s Romane Orhant and Great Britain’s Claudia Moore, which had the crowd on the edge of their seats. Claudia and her pony Elando Van de Roshoeve kept their composure to secure their place on the medal podium; the icing on the cake of being part of Great Britain’s winning team earlier in the week.
Dressage Titles to GermanyThe German Dressage whitewash began in the Team event in which Moritz Treffinger (Top Queen), Jana Lang (NK Cyril), Julia Barbian (Der Kleine Konig) and Lucie-Anouk Baumgurtel (Massimiliano FH) joined forces to post the winning score of 226.286. Denmark took silver on 219.028 and The Netherlands finished close behind in bronze on a final tally of 218.715.
Treffinger was outstanding all week, taking triple gold when also topping the Individual and Kur to Music competitions with his 10-year-old mare. And Denmark’s Alexander Yde Helgstrand was also highly impressive when claiming triple silver with his 12-year-old gelding Adriano B. Jana Lang claimed Individual bronze, but it was her German team-mate Barbian who stood on the third step of the podium in the Kur.
Treffinger looks to have real star potential, judges Jacques Van Daele, Yuri Romanov, Isobel Wessels, Elke Ebert, and Maja Stukelj all placing him first for a big total of 81.875% in the Kur which he performed to David Guetta music.