Great start for Great Britain at Blair

Great start for Great Britain at Blair

 

Day one of the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships got off to a superb start for the British camp, with four personal bests recorded and stunning tests produced by all six combinations against the backdrop of Blair Castle, Scotland.

 

Yesterday was a particularly special day for three athletes, who stepped-up to make their senior championship debut, including Britain’s Holly Woodhead who heads the overnight leader board after a sterling display with DHI Lupison, whilst Nicola Wilson occupies third place at the end of the first day of the four day competition (10-13 September 2015).

 

First to go was Great Britain’s team pathfinder Kitty King. Aboard Jane and Frank Inns’s Persimmon, also known as Percy, Kitty produced a stunning test to see a score of 36.9 penalties awarded. Kitty, who first represented Great Britain on a senior team at Blenheim in 2005, commented on today’s test saying: “He was fantastic, he tried his heart out for me and was really on side, he really let me ride him through the entire test. He got a bit tight before his last change and we missed that which was a shame but that was the only time he got a bit tight against me otherwise he was really listening and working well for me.”

 

Gemma Tattersall with The Soul Syndicate’s and her own Arctic Soul were next into the Perthshire arena to make her senior debut for Great Britain. Showing some lovely work aboard Spike, with just some slight tension creeping in during the walk, Gemma was delighted with her score of 47.30 penalties.

“He [Arctic Soul] was really nervous but he tried his heart out not to explode, unfortunately we would have lost hundreds of marks in the walk which he’s normally really good at and today he just couldn’t walk. We’ll forgive him for that it’s quite a serious atmosphere in here today, he really tried hard for the rest of it,” Gemma said.

With four athletes riding back to back for Great Britain in the morning’s session, next in was Sarah Bullimore, who only arrived on site at the Championships on Wednesday morning – to then receive her first senior call-up. Aboard Brett Bullimore and her own Lilly Corinne, the pair produced a great test to see a score of 38.20 penalties awarded.

Next in for the Brits was the youngest member of the squad, Holly Woodhead, who took to the arena with DHI Lupison, owned by Ian and Heidi Woodhead. After producing a stunning dressage test at Aachen, the talented combination produced yet another flawless test to be rewarded with a score of 31.70 penalties and the lead.

Laura Collett with Mrs Diana Chappell’s Grand Manoeuvre entered the arena just as Holly exited. With the sun shining, they showcased some great movements for a score of 37.80 penalties.

“Chuffed to bits,” commented Laura after her ride, “he’s done his personal best and that was his best test yet – and what a time to do it! He tries so hard I can’t really fault him to be honest. I’ve never done a home championship before it’s a real buzz; I knew following Holly in was going to be tough, the crowd got behind her so I waited for them to quieten down when they read her score out! He coped really well, he’s a real trier.”

The final rider in – and the second team rider – for GBR was Nicola Wilson with One Two Many, owned by Gerry and Mary Kemp and Mrs Janine Shewan. Affectionately known as Coco, who took to the terrain with Nicola at last year’s Blair Horse Trials, the pair produced a further stunning test to collect high scores throughout for a total of 34.60 penalties and third place.

 

At the end of the first day of dressage, Holly sits just ahead of Germany’s Michael Jung who finished on 33.50 penalties, with Nicola third. Kitty sits overnight in fifth place with Laura Collett sixth and Sarah Bullimore in seventh; Gemma Tattersall currently lies in seventeenth place. The standings leave the Great Britain team in a strong position heading into day two of the dressage.

The dressage phase concludes today [Friday] as the remaining British squad (Izzy Taylor, Oliver Townend, Pippa Funnell, Wills Oakden, Francis Whittington and William Fox-Pitt) get their European campaigns underway.