British young rider team member Eilidh Grant has made the tough decision to withdraw Comanche Crumble from the British team for next week’s Young Rider European Dressage Championships in Compiegne, France on 10 – 14 July.
This brings reserve combination Amy Woodhead and Pardon into the squad to join Olivia Oakeley (Donna Summer), Pippa Hutton (Duela) and Samantha Thurman-Baker (Douglas IV).
Eilidh reports that her ride ‘Crumble’, owned by her mum Lorraine, isn’t quite 100%. Lorraine explained; “Crumble has been suffering from what we think is a pollen allergy. She’s really well in herself and on great form but we felt it wasn’t worth risking the long journey from Aberdeen to France only to find that she might be unable to compete. Eilidh and Crumble have qualified for the Summer Regional Championships at Prix St Georges and Inter I so we’ll focus on that now and hope to qualify for the Nationals in September. It was a hard decision but we want the team to do their best.”
Amy Woodhead, from Grimsby, North Humberside, will make her young rider team debut in Compiegne with her own 16 year old bay stallion Pardon, by the sire Jonggors Weyden. She has represented her country before as a Pony rider in 2008 as did her younger sister Holly in 2009 plus her father Ian is a prolific dressage trainer having been the British pony team trainer for a number of years. Ian now largely focuses on eventing but Amy, who celebrates her 21st birthday today, has made dressage her discipline of choice.
Selector Islay Auty commented; “The Grant family have made a brave decision and their sacrifice for the benefit of the team is amazing; I can’t applaud them enough. They have put the chances of the team ahead of their own benefit but having come into last year’s team as reserves, they know what this means. We know that Amy and Pardon will rise to the challenge of this late call up and the team will be as strong as ever.”
The squad of four meet in Dover on Sunday before crossing the Channel on Monday to make the short trip to Compiegne some 40km north east of Paris for the opening ceremony on Tuesday 9 July. The competition gets underway at the 10-hectare ‘Stade Equestre du Grand Parc’ with the Team test on Wednesday, continuing Thursday when the team medals will be decided. It’s then down to individual honours with two days of the individual test to qualify for a coveted freestyle place when the individual European Champion will be crowned on Sunday.
Photos © Astrid Appels
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