Kristina Cook, the 2009 European Champion, had to be content with a role in the BBC’s commentary box yesterday at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championship 2015 at Blair Castle. “Of course I would love to have been riding, but I must admit that I was drier!” she said.
“It was reminiscent of my first senior Championships, at Achelschwang in Germany in 1993 where it poured with rain on cross country day and the ground turned into a bog – and it was long format in those days, with roads and tracks and steeplechase to do as well. I was young then and you just seize the opportunity [she won the individual silver medal].”
Tina’s verdict on yesterday’s challenging cross-country day was “a real championship result with both disappointments and surprises”. For her, the standout performances were those of British individual Izzy Taylor, who is currently in bronze medal position on KBIS Briarlands Matilda, and German team member Ingrid Klimke, currently sixth on Horseware Hale Bob.
“During my career I’ve never really set the world alight at one-day events; for me, everything has been about representing my country. That’s my motivation and is what gets me out of bed every day. Winning the European title at Fontainebleau will always be one of the most special days of my life.”
Harry Meade, who, with Tina, was a member of Britain’s silver medal team at the World Equestrian Games last year, was alongside her in the commentary box. “I’d love to have been riding too – Ian [Stark] had produced a great course.”
Harry pointed out that it was “a competition of two halves” as the ground became deeper in the relentless rain. “Ingrid Klimke put up a great performance at the end of the day – if she’d gone earlier, she’d have definitely been higher up the leaderboard.”
Harry singled out the Spanish team, the only nation apart from Germany to have four clear rounds. “They rode sensibly and with feeling. The Italians, also, put up some polished performances, and the French showed good team tactics. Partway through the day, they were walking the corners in the main arena, which was sensible as the direct route became influential as ground conditions changed, and they took the long route at the last water fence. They played safe and put their Olympic qualification target over their medal position.”
For Harry’s standout performances were German team members Michael Jung, who is in gold medal position on the eight-year-old fischerTakinou, Sandra Auffarth (in silver on Opgun Louvo) and Ingrid.
“What made Michael’s round so good was that there was nothing frenetic about it. There was total clarity and he gave his horse time to see things – he managed to go quickly yet in an unhurried way on a green horse.”
Germany has a full complement of horses going into the final show jumping phase at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championship 2015 at Blair Castle. Its four team horses and two individuals flew through the final horse inspection that took place this morning in the main arena, leaving the nation comfortably on track to win its third successive European title.
All three remaining members of the British team, which lies in the silver medal position overnight, also sailed through without incident, as did the French quartet, which is lying in bronze.
In total 44 horses trotted up in front of the Ground Jury. Three horses were held for reinspection. British individual Oliver Townend’s Fenyas Elegance subsequently passed second time round, but the Russian horse, Nabludatel, ridden by Boris Vasilev, and Spain’s Mirla CP 27 58, ridden by Albert Hermoso Farras, were withdrawn from the holding box.
This leaves 42 combinations to come forward for the final show jumping phase, which starts at 11.30am for the lower placed riders. The top 25 combinations will jump at 2.10pm and this will be followed, at 3.35pm, by the medal ceremony, where Her Majesty The Queen will be presenting the prizes.