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The Pony European Championships 2014 at Millstreet

Published: 07.08.2014 – Alison Maston-Moore

The Green Glens arena at Millstreet was a picture, surrounded by rolling hills this venue had prepared well for the many international riders and ponies attending the 2014 European Pony Championships in all three disciplines of Dressage, Show jumping and Eventing.

Acres and acres of riding surface are a feature of this venue and the Duggan Family had them all working full time throughout the week. Hunger and thirst were well catered for and though trade seemed slow there were many equine stands at Millstreet.

Our three dressage riders Linnea Larkin, Alana Cazabon Sullivan and Katie Burns rode for Ireland with maturity and skill earning many encouraging marks and comments. Alana achieved Irelands’ highest scores on both Team (66.00%), and Individual Championship (65.37%) days. This elegant rider has shown huge improvement since starting to ride Schermeer ‘s Hof Arendsoog and impressed judges at both Addington and Hickstead earlier in the year. Coach Donie MacNamara and Team Manager Anne Marie Dunphy are delighted with progress especially as Alana has two more years in ponies.

Katie Burns has formed a great relationship with the bay German riding pony Caracas II. This previously nervous pony has been nurtured back to confidence and has given Katie (in her first year at the level) some outstanding results. At Millstreet they gained 65.31% in the Team competition and 63.98% in the Individual Championship class. With one more year in ponies coach Alison Mastin Moore is confident that their partnership will continue to flourish.

Linnea Larkin needed all her skill on the first day to steer Goofy round the Team test as he was one of a number of rather spooky ponies. The score of 62.41% was hard earned. In the individual championship test the 63.85% given was recognition of an improved performance. Now in her last year of ponies Linnea heads to Cavan for the summer finals at Medium level.

Team Manager Anne Marie Dunphy expressed herself well satisfied with the overall performances stating that the team had gone to Millstreet with realistic aims which had, in the main, been achieved. Looking towards the future, the HSI Dressage High Performance Programme for pony riders will be developed with assessment days and training offered to those meeting strict criteria.

Congratulations are due to our three riders, Chef d’Equipe/team manager/coach Anne Marie Dunphy and HSI. Special thanks must also go to the families who support their sons and daughters throughout the year as they strive to reach ever higher levels of performance.

Not forgetting the Duggan Family and their amazing team of workers, all the FEI judges, TD’s and Stewards – a huge thank you for a wonderful European Championships.

FEI Dressage Team Competition – Part 2 – Thursday 31st July

The sun was shining for the second day of the Team Dressage Competition at the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet, Co. Cork with proceedings being kicked off by Italy’s Lucrezia Brugnaro riding the ten-year-old Oldenberg gelding Keerlke. The combination was awarded a score of 67.821% which helped secure overall fifth place for Team Italy. Spectators packed out the stands to watch the pony riders do battle in the world-class facilities which included two warm up/cool down arenas and a full size holding arena. Ponies and riders were immaculately turned out and it was nice to see the evident support for each other amongst the teams. Live scores were conveniently posted on a large scoreboard at the arena-side allowing spectators to keep up-to-date with results.

The riders completed their tests in front of five judges, Annette Fransen-Iacobaeus (E), Christoph Umbach (H), Victoire Mandl (C), Ulrike Nivelle (M) and Jo Graham (B).

Building on their exceptional performance at the Europeans in Arezzo, Italy last year, Team Germany once again topped the scoreboard to claim the Gold medal with a team total of 225.333%. German rider Semmieke Rothenberger also claimed the top spot in the Individual rankings with 78.410%. Rothenberger was delighted with her test and commented on how nice it was to have every nation supporting each other.

The Silver medal was won by Team Great Britain with a total of 222.257%. Reigning Individual Gold Medallist Phoebe Peters impressed the crowds with a polished performance aboard the twelve-year-old bay gelding St Lucci scoring 76.590%. After her test the fourteen-year-old was surrounded by Team GB supporters who congratulated her on a fantastic performance. British Chef d’Equipe Liz Mills was very proud of Phoebe’s performance and that of the rest of the team. Speaking at the press conference that followed the prize giving, Peter’s thanked the organisers at Millstreet who made everything very easy and straightforward for competitors, a sentiment that was also echoed by the other teams.

The Netherlands claimed the Bronze medal position with a final team score of 216.667%. In total there were 11 teams competing, a sure sign of the popularity of the sport of Dressage among up and coming riders and with the incredible performances of the pony riders over the two days of Team competition and the Individual competition that followed, there is very bright future ahead for these young riders.

Linnea Larkin was first of the Irish to compete scoring 62.410% with the fifteen-year-old bay gelding Goofy. It is unfortunately Linnea’s final year as a pony rider but she surely has a bright future ahead in Junior and Young Rider competition. Next up for Team Ireland was Alana Cazabon Sullivan and the stunning Palomino stallion Schermeers Hof Arendsoog who produced a lovely test to score 66.000% which saw them finish best of the Irish in the Individual rankings. The final Irish rider to enter the arena was Katie Burns and the twelve-year-old bay gelding Caracas II. Katie scored a very creditable 65.308% to have the team finish in 11th place on a total of 193.718%. It is Ireland’s first time to field a team for the Europeans since Necarne in 2003 and Chef d’Equipe Anne Marie Dunphy was very pleased with the girls’ performance. “Being their first championships they are a relatively inexperienced team, but I am very happy with how much the girls have learned by coming here.” With the high performance programme only being in its infancy she is pleased with the experience the riders have gained over the week and believes there is much more to come from them in the future. Dunphy was very complementary of the competition in general saying it was “a lovely competition and the standard is very high.”

Friday and Saturday saw the Individual competition take place at Millstreet. Germany’s Semmieke Rothenberger claimed the Gold on a very impressive score of 78.341%. The Irish riders put on a great performance with Alana Cazabon Sullivan and Schermeers Hof Arendsoog finishing in joint 40th position with 65.366%, Katie Burns and Caracas II in 44th position with 63.976% and Linnea Larkin and Goofy in 45th position with 63.854%.

Semmieke Rothenberger made it a hat-trick on Sunday winning Gold in the Individual Freestyle with 79.975%. Great Britain’s Phoebe Peters took Silver on a score of 78.700% and The Netherlands Lisanne Zoutendijk claimed Bronze with 77.850%.

—Alison Maston-Moore

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