Home Comforts for Team GB at European Pony Championships
The dressage team said the atmosphere at Bishop Burton College throughout the competition has helped make it a truly special occasion.
“The friendly atmosphere here at the college made a real difference,” said team member Annabella Pidgley.
“When you are abroad you have your families but to have other spectators to support you makes a real difference.”
Sophie Taylor caught the eye of many of the commentators with her seven-year-old gelding George Clooney. He was one of the youngest ponies competing and it was a very proud moment for Sophie as she has brought him on herself since he was only four.
Megan Barratt’s and Isobel Lickley’s ponies, Valido’s Starlight and Valido’s Sunlight, are both by the same stallion, making them half brother and sister.
“They are very different personalities,” said Megan, who will shortly be getting her GCSE results.
“It’s been hard work doing exams and preparing for the championships but this week has made it all worthwhile.”
Isobel’s jacket lapels are covered with badges and she said she’d had great fun meeting other riders from around the world and swapping badges.
“I loved the opening ceremony,” said Isobel. “It was so good: I’ve had a brilliant time and learnt such a lot.”
Chef d’Equipe Caroline Bell said that although this week’s competition was “their Olympics – they can’t go any higher than this on their ponies” she was pleased the girls had also enjoyed themselves, just missing out on a bronze medal – posting a final team position of fourth. Germany won gold, with Denmark in silver position and the Netherlands taking bronze.
“We’ve had some rounders matches and it’s important for both them and their ponies that they get a bit of down time,” said Caroline.
“I’m incredibly proud of the girls. It’s been quite a journey, from selection through all the training to coming here and competing. Although it was wonderful to be in front of a home crowd that also brought its own pressures. We have so much to be pleased with and so much to be excited about for the future.”