So, in the end, we had to settle for just a team bronze at the European Eventing Championships when things didn’t really go the way the GB team would have liked. However, considering all the problems encountered on the way, they did very well to win bronze! How did Cool Mountain stay on his feet in the water and how did William Fox-Pitt stay on ….twice (!) to avoid any jumping penalties XC? Mary King suffered a crushing fall, but in her true style got up smiling and waved to the crowd – what an amazing role model she is. Piggy French has a habit of beating herself up, but she really shouldn’t – she has fantastic talent and surely always better to go clear with a few time penalties than risk jumping penalties. As for Nicola Wilson and Opposition Buzz – once again they make it look so easy! According to the interview afterwards, Laura Collett, riding Rayef as an individual, obviously felt Rayef wasn’t on form XC. They were eliminated for 3 runouts. Disappointing for Laura, but no doubt she will have learnt a lot from the experience and she will be back.
Sadly a show jumping fence down for each of our 3 team members meant we couldn’t retain our overnight silver medal position and France who all show jumped clear moved up to take the silver while we took the bronze.
The German team were on fire and deserved the Gold, but you couldn’t help but feel sorry for Ingrid Klimke with 6 knock downs SJ after being in Gold medal position after a great dressage and XC. And also poor Sara Algotsson-Ostholt (lying in Silver position before SJ) who completely ‘missed’ at the final treble causing a knock down and then a stop. She was lucky not to fall too. Ironically that helped her husband, German rider Frank Ostholt, move up to take the individual bronze and both Ingrid and Sara dropped right out of the medal positions although Ingrid won a team gold. But the talented 24 year old Sandra Auffarth thoroughly deserved her individual silver medal with the lovely chestnut Opgun Louvo. As for Michael Jung, well he now adds the European Champion title to his existing World Champion title and he finished on his dressage of 33.40. What more can you say except WOW!….. And the horse I’d most like to ride (in my dreams!!) – Apollo van de Wendi Kurt Hoeve, ridden by Stefano Brecciaroli.