August, 2011 - Great Britain's young riders claimed the team gold as their eventing European Championships concluded Sunday at Blair Castle, Scotland, with Ireland taking silver and Germany bronze. Willa Newton spearheaded Britain's effort riding Neelix (pictured) and also collected individual silver. She added just 2.4 time-faults to her dressage score and was cool under pressure for a faultless showjumping clear.
"I had a great ride across country," she said. "He got a little bit strong on the hills, which was where the time-faults came in, but otherwise he was fantastic. It's so exciting."
Willa was joined on the team by Tom McEwen (fourth on Private Rudolf), Wills Oakden (13th on Button Clover) and Dani Evans (32nd on Uchin). The cross-country was influential and there were only four clears inside the time, including one from Wills Oakden. "I was down on my minute markers as I came off the hill, but as soon as I turned away from the third water I let him bowl on, and you can pick up 15sec from there on a fit horse," he said.
Ireland's Peter Hannigan recorded the first clear in the time on Sunday to finish fifth on First Mate, but his younger brother David was best of the Irish, collecting the individual bronze on the former Zara Phillips ride Red Baron. "First Mate always makes the time, so I was confident of getting it," said Peter. "I'm over the moon for David and the team."
Ireland's other team members were anchorwoman Melanie Young (Riverstown Express) and Alex Donohoe (Ardfly Baringa).
Germany's Freja Fullgraebe won the individual gold on her long-term partner Oje Oje, finishing on her dressage score. "He's really fast and had no problems on the hills — it was great fun," she said.
Britain's individual riders also acquitted themselves well, with six of the eight completing with clear cross-country jumping rounds. The other classes at Blair fell to William Fox-Pitt (CCI*), Polly Stockton (CCI**), Nicola Wilson (CIC***) and Andrew Nicholson (CCI***). Full report of Blair in next week's H&H 25 August issue.
1. Britain 169.2
2. Ireland 178.9
3. Germany 188.4
1. Freya Fullgraebe on Oje Oje (GER) 47.1
2. Willa Newton on Neelix (GB) 48.4
3. David Hannigan on Red Baron (IRE) 49.5
Other British results
4. Tom McEwen on Private Rudolf 54.7
7. Laura Cocking on Arkendale 59.2
13. Wills Oakden on Button Clover 66.1
23. Harry Dzenis on Rockin Robin 78.3
24. Sophie Jenman on Geronimo 80.3
26. Giles Blanchard on Jeopardy 84.7
28. Mary Edmundson on Sonny Early 86.2
29. Sam Lees on Heads Your Gray 87.3
32. Dani Evans on Uchin 90
Eliminated for falls across country Rebecca Crosbie-Starling on Clifton Clicquot and Gina Ruck on Viper Priba
Photo: Willa Newton and Neelix