Germany Wins European Under-25 Championships Team Gold, Netherlands Silver, Sweden Bronze
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
LAMPRECHTSHAUSEN, Austria, Sept. 1, 2017–Germany won the European Under-25 Championships team gold Friday for the second year with Netherlands taking silver and Sweden bronze.
Lisa-Maria Klössinger on FBW Daktari with the highest individual score and a personal best of 76.500 per cent led the German team to first place in the second year of the under-25 championships. Lisa-Maria and Daktari, a 12-year-old German Sport Horse gelding, began competing at CDI Young Riders in 2012 and won team gold and individual and freestyle silver medals at the European Young Rider Championships in 2014.
Anne Meulendijks on MDH Avanti, the world No. 1 ranked under-25 combination and last to go, also posted a personal best of 74.500 per cent, to place second and enough for the Netherlands to take silver but not to catch Germany.
With Lisa-Maria second last and Anne on her 12-year-old KWPN gelding on which she competed at the 2013 and 2014 European Young Riders and the inaugural under-25 championships in 2016 last in the lineup, the competition was in suspense to the end.
Lina Jönsson on Quentin assured Sweden of repeating as bronze medal winners with a score of 72.237 per cent in the first championship for the pair that began their partnership in April last year.
The final team results: 1. Germany 221.000; 2. Netherlands 218.473; 3. Sweden 210.711; 4. Denmark 207.053; 5. Spain 204.473; 6. Austria 204.211.
The order of finish this year was the same as in 2016, the inaugural championship of the U-25 that was created as a bridge between youth divisions and the senior ranks.
Unrelenting rain throughout the day and a drop in temperature to 57F/14C from 86F/30C on Thursday clearly did not dampen the enthusiasm of competitors of the 27 combinations from the six teams and individuals from three other nations.
Although this year’s championship was significantly smaller than in 2016, the quality was rated high despite the weather conditions.
With 14 combinations or more than half of the 27 pairs that started above 69 per cent–11 were above 70 per cent–the quality was praised by Francis Verbeek of the Netherlands, the judge at C, as “very high standard. lovely quality of riding.”
“Maybe some were used to the weather, but we saw such beautiful rides and technically really well ridden tests that we want to see with easy going horses, light on the aids, very high quality of the gaits and really lovely riders,” she said.
For the top six combinations–two from Germany, two from the Netherlands, one from Sweden and one from Austria–their scores were all personal best results for the Under-25 Intermediate II used for the team competition.
Juan Matute, Jr., the 19-year-old Florida-based rider, was top placed on Quantico Ymas with 71.868 per cent for the team from Spain. Juan and Quantico last week swept the Lövsta Future Challenge International Under-25 Grand Prix and Freestyle staged alongside the European Championships of dressage and jumping in Gothenburg, Sweden.