Posted on Sunday, June 30, 2013 by Heather Dodd
British pony riders competing under the Team Fairfax banner at the Hagen Future Champions Show in Germany recently won the Pony Nations Cup competition relegating the home team (Germany) to 2nd place, with Ireland in 3rd.
The team put in a brilliant performance to finish on a total of just 1 penalty which gave them enough of an edge to ensure their podium finish ahead of Germany, who finished on a score of 2 penalties.
It was Faye Adams aged 15 years from Halesowen with her mother’s 14 year-old Chestnut mare Some Like It Hot who was first to go for the team. The role of pathfinder for a team would never be the most enviable, but they took it in their stride producing a foot perfect clear to start the team off on a zero penalty score.
Alex Gill, also aged 15 years from Northallerton incurred an unfortunate 4 penalties on the course when one of the fences lowered with Ammanvalley Santino, a 9 year-old bay gelding owned by Lynn Barker. Finishing just slightly over the time allowed saw thenn incur an additional time penalty giving them a finish score of 5 penalties.
Christie Pritchard aged 16 years from Holyhead with her mother’s (Tracey) Kilcloghan DG Clover came out in style putting in a fantastic clear round and within the time allowed. This put Great Britain in a strong position going forward should the last team member jump clear as it would mean that the team would have a chance of going forward on zero penalties due to only the three best scores counting in each round.
Emily Ward aged 14 years from Neston with her father’s (Nick) and Margaret Duggan’s 8 year-old chestnut gelding King Mac must have felt pressure on their shoulders as they entered the arena. However, in the quietly confident and focused style that Emily has in her approach to competition you would never have known and they went on to put in a brilliant clear resulting in Great Britain taking the lead at the half way mark.
Going into the second round Germany were on 1 penalty behind us and were hot on our heels hoping that we would incur some time penalties or a fence down to change the order. With Faye putting in yet another brilliant clear producing one of the only handful of competitors managing to do so the tension rose in both the British and Germany camps knowing there was no margin for error.
A clear round produced by Germany’s first rider saw the same position being held as Alex Gill entered the arena. Clearing the last fence on a zero penalty score you could literally hear the audible groan as he realised a time penalty had been incurred putting GB and Germany on equal scoring.
With Germany’s second rider having gone clear, Christie entered the arena. Having jumped clear in the first round, she looked set to do the same but mirroring Alex before her she broke the finish line just outside the time allowed incurring a time penalty. The tension became visibly more noticeable as Germany’s third rider also broke the finish line incurring a time penalty knowing that it could still go either way if each of our final riders didn’t jump clear.
With a maturity that belies her years, Emily showed once again what a talent she is by not letting the pressure affect her and putting in yet another brilliant clear meaning that GB would finish nothing more than the 1 penalty incurred in the first round.
As they stood watching Germany, well aware that if their fourth rider jumped clear it would mean a draw, you could have heard a pin drop. But as a pole topped from the cup it had been sat in and Great Britain realised their celebrations started in earnest!
This was a hard fought competition and one that saw tensions mount throughout taking it to right to the knife edge in terms of deciding the winner.
The British youth teams are sponsored by Fairfax Saddles. It is Fairfax’s primary aim to improve the performance of the competition horse. All the saddles and girths are developed using the most advanced technology and are tested extensively. All research and design work is carried out under the direction of Vanessa Fairfax, an ex-International showjumper and University qualified designer. The company is based in Walsall and manufactures all its own products.
The GB Showjumping Teams are strongly supported by the UK Sport Lottery funded BEF World Class Programme. They Pony teams are further supported by Champion Hats, Next and Animo.