The British Team had a good week in Switzerland at the FEI European Senior Reining and World Championships for Young Riders and Juniors. The senior team attained a good result placing 6th. Lee Rutter riding Little Nic, an 8year old stallion owned by Lita Pocock was the high score for the team and advanced to the Individual finals, where he placed 9th in a very strong field from across Europe. Francesca Sternberg on Rosanne Sternberg’s RS Barbaresco Blue put in a solid score, tying with team member Luke Phillimore and both progressed to the Individual Consolation round but sadly failed to attain a place in the finals. In the Junior Division Jolie Cooper, riding Southern Comfort, had a good penalty free round in the qualification and progressed to the finals where she placed 12th. Tabitha Sternberg Allen riding her mother’s horse “Smart Like Valentino” had a good first run in the Young Rider Division, but a penalty disappointingly cost her a place in the finals by a ½ point, the smallest margin possible in a 5-judge competition, ending up in 20th place. The Junior and Young Riders divisions were particularly strong with the best youngsters from across Europe being joined by a full contingent from the USA who flew in their horses for the event. At the conclusion of competition Chef D’Equipe Simon Barnes commented: “I am really proud of the team for what they achieved. We only have a small number of riders to draw from for these international events and they certainly punch well above their weight”.
Also competing in Geneva, at the first ever Swiss Para Reining Competition, were Ricky Balshaw and Fiona Durston. In front of a large crowd, who showed their appreciation by clapping along to the music and cheering loudly. The two riders from the British Silver medal winning team at the recent World Para Reining Championships in Holland impressed the FEI delegate and sponsors with their smooth spins and big sliding stops. Balshaw placed first and Durston second. World Para Reining is excited to become part of the FEI Disciplines, with inclusion in to the WEG to join Para Dressage. These two riders are certainly a credit to Great Britain and excellent ambassadors for the sport.