It was a good start for Great Britain at the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships in Malmö, Sweden (29 August – 1 September), after strong performances by team members Pippa Funnell and Lucy Wiegersma.
Pippa, who was first of the Brits to go, with Carol Toliver’s 13-year-old bay gelding, Mirage D’Elle, produced a solid test to get things underway for Britain in the team event, finishing on a score of 47.6 penalties, which sees them sitting in tenth place overnight.
Commenting after her test, Pippa said: “I’m just really pleased. He doesn’t find dressage easy but he’s good and has his own technique. He did a very consistent test and I’m chuffed we broke into the 40s. I’m thrilled to be back on the team again and with Will and Tina, from our young rider days.”
After lunch it was the turn of second GB team rider, Lucy Wiegersma, with Christopher and Sarita Perkin’s Simon Porloe, another 13-year-old bay gelding. Lucy produced a lovely fluid test, scoring highly for her canter work but had an unfortunate resistance in the rein-back.
Finishing on a final score of 45.2 penalties, for fourth place overnight, Lucy commented: “I’m pleased, he just got a bit bright and a bit sharp and I couldn’t ride him as much as I wanted but he coped very well.
"I’m very chuffed to be back on the team. I didn't expect to feel such pressure. I was really nervous before the dressage. Normally you get butterflies, but I was thinking 'actually, I would rather go cross-country right now’!”
Heading into the second day of dressage tomorrow, Germany currently occupy two of the top three Individual spots, with Ingrid Klimke (FRH Escada JS) and Dirk Schrade (Hop and Skip) lying in first and third place respectively, whilst the host nation’s Niklas Lindback (Mister Pooh) are second.
Current rankings in the team competition see defending European Champions Germany leading the way with a total of 83.6 penalties, whilst Sweden currently lie in second place (88.0) and Great Britain third (92.8).
Tomorrow sees the second part of the dressage competition take place. British London 2012 Olympian Tina Cook, the third team member rides first for GB at 10.54, closely followed by Izzy Taylor at 11.18 – who competes in Malmö as an individual. The final team rider, Cook’s Olympic team mate of the last two Olympic Games, William Fox-Pitt is the penultimate rider of the dressage phase, going at 15.22 (all times are given in GMT).
The cross-country gets underway on Saturday and promises to be an exciting day of competition. Coverage can be found on the BBC website and FEI TV (links open in new windows).
The British equestrian teams are supported by the UK Sport Lottery funded World Class Programme.