Vejar de la Frontera, Spain, July 22, 2013: It was double-gold for Switzerland in the Team events, while The Netherlands’ Frank Schuttert, Italy’s Emanuele Bianchi and Hungary’s Virag Weinhardt took the Individual titles at the FEI European Jumping Championships for Children, Juniors and Young Riders 2013 which drew to a close today at Vejer de la Frontera in Spain. This lovely hilltop town is intrinsically linked with the annual Sunshine Tour which takes place at the Centro Hippico Montmenmedio, offering early-season international Jumping and Dressage events for riders at all levels and in ideal weather conditions.
This summer it opened its gates to a tide of young European talent, all hoping to make their mark and with their sights set on a big future in equestrian sport. The competitiveness of these Championships was clearly highlighted once again by the quality of competition, with every medal hard won and some fierce battles to decide the final results.
The French enjoyed a clear and concise victory in the Children’s Team event when finishing the Nations Cup with just four faults. They were sharing the lead with a zero score after the first round during which all four riders impressively returned a clean sheet. Hungary, Switzerland and Ireland were also fault free at this stage with the British close behind carrying just a single time penalty and Denmark, Germany and Poland next in line with four faults apiece.
Both pathfinder Laura Klein (Loves Me De St Simeon) and anchor rider Marina Gautherat (Kaloubet D’Tourelle) dropped a pole second time out for France, but when Nina Mallevay (Xilote) and Camille Conde Fereira (Pirole de la Chatre) went double-clear that was plenty good enough for the gold.
It took a major battle to decide the remainder of the medals however as the Hungarians, Swiss and Irish all lost their grip when picking up eight faults in round two. These three therefore joined the Danes, who put four more on the board at their second attempt, in an exciting jump-off for silver and bronze. The British missed out when adding eight faults to that costly single first-round time penalty to complete on a total of nine.
In the end the timing system settled the final placings as all four teams through to the jump-off added a further four faults to their tally. It was the Danish side of Anne Katrine Kolborg Johansen (Quattron), Benedikte Rie Truelsen (Qunnie), Kaisa Alno Andersen (Lisalotta) and Anne Vindelov (Aagaardens Elina) who were quickest through the timers to snatch silver ahead of Hungary’s Mate Lehotsi (Viador), Virag Weinhardt (Bognar Jen Cor), Sztella Stieber (Chanel) and Vince Jarmy (Kitara).
A total of 12 teams competed, and they finished in the following order – France, Denmark, Hungary, Switzerland, Ireland, Great Britain, Germany, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Netherlands and Belgium.
The Children’s Individual Final came down to a three-way showdown between French team gold medallist Conde-Ferreira, Hungarian team bronze medallist Virag Weinhardt and Switzerland’s Isabelle Straehuber when all were tied on a zero score. And it was Weinhardt, riding Bognar Jen Cor, who reigned supreme when producing the only clear of the jump-off while Straehuber’s four faults with Guayana ll was good enough for silver and Conde-Ferreira and Pirole de la Chatre left two on the floor for bronze.
The Swiss pipped the British for Junior Team gold while The Netherlands took bronze. There were 10 countries in contention here, and the eventual champions and bronze medallists shared the lead with Austria at the halfway stage of the Nations Cup class carrying four faults each. However the Austrians disappeared from the reckoning when adding 16 at their second attempt while the British, sharing an eight-fault first-round tally with Belgium, Spain and Ireland, jumped into the frame with just a single mistake second time out for a final total of 12.
The Swiss finished on a scoreline of eight when Salome Di Gallo (Walterstown Clover) followed an opening single error with a foot-perfect run second time out, Fiona Meier (Pleiade Heutiere) left one on the floor after her first-round clear, Laetitia Du Couedic (Elisa) did the same and Estelle Wettstein (Benita ll) improved from an eight-fault first-round tour of the track to stay clear and leave her side with a four-point advantage over their silver-medal-winning British rivals. Britain’s Jessica Mendoza (Spirit T) produced one of just three double-clear performances on the day while team-mates Jake Saywell (Farinelli van de Zesh) collected a total of four faults, Laura Robinson (Cree Cruiser) picked up eight and Emma O’Dwyer collected a two-round total of 12.
A pole down for anchor rider Kim Bril (Tennessee W), two down for Kim Hoogenraat (Wishkarla) and 12 faults for Kevin Jochems (Ma Cherie) but a clear from the opening partnership of Lisa Nooren and Zigo left the Dutch on a final tally of 16, and just two faults clear of the Belgians in fourth place.
Nooren, daughter of Henk Nooren who is currently training the Swedish national jumping team, went into a three-way ride-off for the Junior Individual title against Ireland’s Bertram Allen and Italy’s Emanuele Bianchi. And when all three jumped clear in the final barrage, it was Bianchi’s last-to-go fast time of 40.6 seconds that snatched victory from Allen, a member of the 2012 gold-medal-winning Junior team and a rider who has already competed at Senior level for his country. Allen took the silver ahead of Nooren in bronze with Zigo. The 17-year-old gold medallist, Bianchi, hails from Milan.
There were 32 competitors in the Junior Individual division, while the countries represented in the Team Championship finished in the following order – Switzerland, Great Britain, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Spain, Sweden, Ireland, Portugal and Italy.
The Swiss also won the Young Riders Team Championship by a one-fence margin, this time pipping the Dutch while Belgium claimed team bronze. There were 10 nations in action here too, and the Belgians seemed to have it in the bag in the early stages when counting just single time penalties from pathfinder Quinten Bradt (Green Sleeps Orage) and anchor rider Valerie van de Poel (Wernsen) while Eleonore Lambilliotte (Alaska VGZ) went clear leaving the five faults collected by Gilles Detry (Catwalk Capone) as the discard score at the end of round one.
Eight faults second time out for both Lambilliotte and Van de Poel, and four from Bradt, seriously compromised their chances however, and although Detry improved to produce their only second-round clear the final team score rose to a significant 14 faults. That was still good enough for bronze when the British, carrying ten from round one, added another five to complete just one frustrating penalty point outside the medal placings.
Meanwhile three second-round clears ensured the Swiss had nothing to add to their first-round eight-fault result. Martin Fuchs, who claimed Young Rider Individual gold and Team silver in 2012, was double-clear with PSG Future, while Emilie Stampfli followed her opening foot-perfect performance with two mistakes second time out with Alessa Z. However when Annina Zuger and Liatos ll who double-faulted in round one returned clear this time out, and Chantal Muller and U Tabasca improved dramatically from a 16-fault first effort to also leave the full course intact, then the Swiss were in an unassailable position.
The Dutch also held their ground, but their 12 faults from round one would pin them into silver medal spot. Like Fuchs, Dutch pathfinder Frank Schuttert has been making a name for himself at Senior level and he produced the only other double-clear of this Nations Cup with Winchester HS. Stefanie Van den Brink (Wapper) and Sjaak Steiderink (Zhivago) followed eight-fault first efforts with clear rounds while Dennis van Den Brink (Royal Dream) had four faults in both rounds.
The Young Rider Teams finished in the following order – Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, France and Italy.
Schuttert, Fuchs and Great Britain’s Chloe Aston held the top three placings going into the Young Riders Individual Final and that was the way it remained at the end of the day. The Dutchman and his brother, Hendrik-Jan Schuttert, have been two great “finds” for senior team Chef d’Equipe, Rob Ehrens, this season. Fuchs followed last year’s gold with silver this time around, and Aston held on for the bronze to finish just over a point ahead of fourth-placed Stefanie van den Brink from Holland.
FEI European Young Riders Team Jumping Championship 2013: GOLD – Switzerland 8 faults: PSG Future (Martin Fuchs) 0/0, Alessa Z (Emilie Stempfli) 0/8, Liatos ll (Annina Zuger) 8/0, U Tbasca (Chantal Muller) 16/0; SILVER – Netherlands 12 faults: Winchester HS (Frank Schutert) 0/0, Wapper (Stefanie Van Den Brink) 8/0, Zhivago (Sjaak Steiderink) 8/0, Royal Dream (Dennis Van Den Brink) 4/4; BRONZE – Belgium 14 faults: Green Sleps orae (Quinten Bradt) 1/4, Catwalk Capone (Gilles Detry) 5/0, Alaska VGZ (Eleonore Lambilliotte) 0/8, Wernsen (Valerie Van De Poel) 1/8.
FEI European Young Riders Individual Jumping Championship 2013: GOLD – Winchester HS (Frank Schuttert) NED 5.56; SILVER – PSG Future (Martin Fuchs) SUI 7.22; BRONZE – Quiet Easy 4 (Chloe Aston) GBR 11.59.
FEI European Junior Team Jumping Championship 2013: GOLD – Switzerland 8 faults: Walterstown Clover (Salome Di Gallo) 4/0, Pleiade Heutiere (Fiona Meier) 0/4, Elise (Laetitia Du Couedic) 0/4, Benita ll (Estelle Wettstein) 8/0; SILVER – Great Britain 12 faults: Spirit T (Jessica Mendoza) 0/0, Farinelli Van De Zesh (Jake Saywell) 4/0, Cree Cruiser (Laura Robinson) 4/4, Miss Tonic (Emma O’Dwyer) 8/4; BRONZE – Netherlands 16 faults: Zigo (Lisa Nooren) 0/0, Wishkarla (Kim Hoogenraat) 0/8, Ma Cherie (Kevin Jochems) 4/12, Tennessee W (Kim Bril) 58/4.
FEI European Junior Individual Jumping Championship 2013: GOLD – Cupido Z (Emanuele Bianchi) ITA 0/40.6; SILVER – Molly Malone (Bertram Allen) IRL 0/41.54; BRONZE – Zigo (Lisa Nooren) NED 0/42.36.
FEI European Children’s Team Jumping Championship 2013: GOLD – France 4 faults: Loves Me De St Simeon (Laura Klein) 0/4, Zilote (Nina Mallevay) 0/0, Pirole de la Chatre (Camille Conde Ferreira) 0/0, Kaloubet D’Tourelle (Marina Gautherat) 0/4; SILVER – Denmark 4 faults Jump-Off in 283.23 secs: Quattron (Anne Katrine Kolborg) 0/0/4, Qunnie (Benedikte Rie Truelsen) 0/0/4, Lisalotta (Kalsa Alno Andersen 4/4/0, Aagaardens Elina (Anne Vindelov0 11/4/0; BRONZE – Hungary 4 faults in Jump-Off in 283.92 secs: Viador (Mate Lahotai) 0/4/0, Bognar Jen Cor (Virag Weinhardt) 0/0/8, Chanel (Sztella Stiebar) 0/4/4, Kitara (Vince Jarmy) 8/20/0.
FEI European Children’s Individual Jumping Championship 2013: GOLD – Bognar Jen Cor (Virag Weinhardt) HUN 0/42.37; SILVER – Guayana ll (Isabella Straehuber) SUI 4/37.48; BRONZE – Pirole de la Chatre (Camille Conde Ferreira) FRA 8/38.81. —- By Louise Parkes/ Photo: FEI/Moisés Basallote.