Saturday, 31 August 2019
Today marked the last day of the exciting month-long adventure that took me from the Ready Steady Tokyo test event in Japan, to the European Championships for Dressage, Jumping and Para-Dressage in Rotterdam, and finally the Eventing European Championships in Luhmühlen. This final part has been as challenging and rewarding as the rest, for much of the same reasons.
The first hurdle of Sunday was the veterinary inspection, which includes a trot-up and is customary in three-day eventing. The cross-country course was tough yesterday, which meant we saw a few horses back at the stables who were a little stiff and sore. However, the British team looked fabulous and all passed with flying colours. This is mainly due to the fantastic grooms, vet and support staff that we have to ensure the horses receive the best possible care and attention.
The showjumping course walked well and looked like a relatively straightforward track. Tina was first to go for Team GBR and she produced a flowing clear round to inspire the rest of the team that it was eminently jumpable within the time. However, the remaining three team members – Pippa, Piggy and Oliver – each had an uncharacteristic fence down during their rounds. They were not the only nation to suffer penalties, though, and the course had a number of casualties that meant we were triumphant at retaining the silver medal for the team. Fabulous, elation, celebration.
The closest of the Team GBR squad to an individual medal was Kitty King, who also jumped a smooth clear round to add nothing to her overnight score, seeing her move up from tenth to eventual seventh. Congratulations to Kitty – she displayed a steely and focused composure all through the championship and delivered an excellent result. It was sad not to have Laura jumping for the individual title as well, but her time will come and she was a great support to the team today.
Across my month's journey, Team GBR has won one gold medal, six silver medals and one bronze medal. Not a bad haul, although it's not quite up to the quota that we had anticipated in our sport plan at the start of this Olympic cycle. However, most importantly we have qualified a jumping for Tokyo, have given new combinations the opportunity to compete at championship level and worked our way successfully through a number of challenges that will make us stronger and better prepared for the future.
All in all, not a bad month's work!