Equestrianism: Joy for Britain as team take dressage bronze medal

Britain's dressage riders caused scenes of jubilation yesterday, when collecting their first set of European Championship medals since 1993 by finishing third in the team competition here. As was inevitable, the German team retained their unbeaten record which dates back to 1965, leaving the destination of the silver and bronze medals as a much more exciting aspect on this second day of the Team Grand Prix.

Spain eventually finished second, a whisker ahead of the British, who managed to hold off a strong challenge from the Dutch team. This result for the home riders means they have also qualified for the Olympic Games, their main objective.

Nicola McGivern produced a lovely test for Britain yesterday on Active Walero, who had looked alarmingly overwrought in the warm-up arena. "He was frighted by the flags and the noise," McGivern said. Once in the main arena, however, the horse settled down. He even ignored a helicopter flying overhead. "We have a lot of those flying over us at home in Chalfont St Giles, so it didn't worry him or me," McGivern added, after achieving a personal best of 70.50 per cent.

Richard Davison, the last of the four British riders, had the daunting task of maintaining the team's third place. "From the minute I went in I loved it," Davison said of his test on the 13-year-old Ballaseyr Royale. There was a huge roar of approval after he had finished on a score of 70.04. "I was a bit surprised when I took my hat off and waved it in the air, I've never done that before," Davison said.

Emma Hindle, who scored 71.08 per cent with Wie Weltmeyer on Thursday, is still best of the British in 10th place. She and her three team-mates - McGivern, Davison and Emile Faurie - are among the top 25 who go forward to today's Grand Prix Special, which counts for the individual medals. The best 15 after that contest will ride in the deciding Freestyle to Music tomorrow.

Jane Annett took the honours in the British Jumping Derby Meeting when she rode Cullawn Diamond to win the Derby Trial, with Damian Charles, the only other rider to reach the jump-off, as runner-up with a single error in a much faster time on Romulus 16. Charles was also third on Racal B.

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