Britain has missed out on a team medal in the dressage at the European Championships by just 1.8%.
Gold went to Germany with Isabel Werth scoring a stonking 83.74% with Weihegold OLD to help the team achieve a total score of 237.07%.
Denmark took silver on 224.64% and the home team Sweden won bronze with 221.14%.
It hasn’t been an easy championships for the British team – who were competing without the dressage dynamo Valegro for the first time in six years. Emile Faurie was riding his reserve horse, while Gareth Hughes had to withdraw from the competition when Don Carissimo sustained a sudden injury before the trot up.
With one man down, it meant the three remaining riders couldn’t afford any mistakes.
‘Such a dude’
Pathfinder Emile Faurie got their campaign off to a solid start with Lollipop 126, who was making his championship debut. Emile entered the Ullevi stadium with one objective: a mistake free test, and that’s just what he achieved.
“I’m chuffed to bits with him; he’s such a dude!” said Emile. “He’s a relatively young horse and has never been in an atmosphere like this – he has a heart as big as this stadium!”
Next in were Spencer Wilton and Super Nova who produced some incredible work and their scores were trending around 77%. However, a few costly mistakes in their pirouettes and canter zigzags saw the final score drop to 72.08%. The pair certainly divided the judges with the placings ranging from 10th to 26th.
“I’m so pleased with him,” said Spencer. “He had quite a difficult time in the warm-up before we went in, but I felt like he was gaining confidence all the way through. Apart from the mistakes I felt that he did really nicely.”
‘Not a disaster’
Carl was last to ride and the pressure was on. Britain couldn’t ask for a better anchorman and Carl made a valiant effort riding Nip Tuck to claw back a podium place, but their score of 74.9% wasn’t quite enough to medal.
“At the end of the day, we were a snip off the bronze, but it’s great to see Denmark and Sweden up there. It’s great for the sport,” said Carl. “A medal at Windsor in 2009 changed our lives so hopefully it will do the same for them, but it hasn’t gone our way this time all along.
“It’s not a disaster, I just don’t like the feeling of going home without a medal – our first time in eight years. But we mustn’t be disappointed with fourth.”
Battle for medals
All three British riders are through to the Grand Prix Special on Friday when the battle for individual medals begins. The competition concludes on Saturday with the Freestyle.
You can watch both these competitions, as we showing highlights on H&C TV.
FEI Europeans 2017: Dressage (GPS) is on 30 August at 9pm and FEI Europeans 2017: Dressage (FS) is on 31 August at 9pm. You can watch on Sky 253 or online via H&C Play or Amazon Video.
H&C coverage of the European Championships is sponsored by