British team had a successful trip to the FEI European Young Rider Endurance Championships 2012, which took place at Mont le Soie in Belgium on the 8th September.
The team, consisting of Kate Atkinson, Carri-Ann Dark, Beth Langley and Louise Rich won team bronze around the ultra-competitive and demanding 120km course. This is the first team medal for the British Endurance team for over 17 years.The French team took the team Gold and Italy came home with Silver. Two individual riders made up the six strong British squad; Dace Sainsbury and Andrew Theodorou. Dace from Dorset was the highest placed British rider in 12th position with her horse Ballota.
The British team needed three of their four team riders to complete the hilly course on the edge of the Ardennes forest to be in contention for team medals. Carri-Ann Dark from Wiltshire finished in 14th place with her own Vavavoom, Beth Langley from Wales and HS Ametista came in in 18th and Kate Atkinson from Lancashire riding Vanash finished in 23rd place. Sadly Louise Rich’s horse Oakleaze Farm Cziko vetted out on metabolics at vet gate 3. Chef d’equipe Helen Boston said “the riders went really well from start to finish.
This year we have really planned ahead for the championships. We brought three of the riders, Carri-Ann, Louise and Kate out to Mont le Soie in April for a trial run. What they learned from April and passed on to the other team members has really ensured the whole squad was fully prepared, which shows in their results”. Team member Carri-Ann Dark said “the course was challenging and technical, but great fun. It went according to plan and we had a very exciting finish with a race to the line”. Dace Sainsbury, competing at her first Championships said “I was astonished to find at the end of the third loop that I was just 40 seconds behind the leaders.
To compete in Mont le Soie was an amazing experience and a huge step up from competing in the UK”. The course at Mont le Soie is hilly and stony and presents a real challenge to the riders. Many teams failed to complete with three riders owing to these tough conditions. Helen went on to say “Carri-Ann, Beth and Louise are in their last year of young riders, but we have some brilliant riders moving up the ranks for next year”. In 2013 the Young Rider World Championships will be held in Tardes, in the South of France in July. The team are grateful to their generous sponsors, Toggi, Equissage, Just Chaps, Simple Systems, Performance Equestrian, Gatehouse Riding Hats, Naf Products and Ingateston Saddlery Essex.For more information on the sport of endurance in Britain, visit www.endurancegb.co.uk.