Great Britain secured a brilliant team silver medal in a tense and tightly fought battle at the European Eventing Championships in Luhmuhlen, Germany.
Going into the final day of competition, the show jumping phase, GB held the narrowest of margins over rivals France and Italy in second place and it was to be a battle that raged on throughout the day.
First up for GB, Kristina Cook on Billy The Red produced a brilliant round to boost the Brits confidence before Pippa Funnell was next up, but faltered with a pole down on Majas Hope increasing the pressure on the final two team riders.
While Italy began to encounter problems, France crept ever closer to GB’s silver medal position and Piggy French on Quarrycrest Echo also put an early fence down to leave the team with no margin for error with only Oliver Townend left to jump.
Townend also encountered difficulty with a fault at the planks, dropping GB down to third, but French rider Lt Col Thibaut Vallette also put a fence down to put Great Britain back into silver medal position in the tightest of margins.
Reflecting on the silver Townend said: “It [the fault] matters for me, but it doesn’t matter for the team and that’s the main bit here.
“I’m obviously disappointed for the owner, to have a fence down. It matters more and more [the show jumping], gone are the days that a bad jumper is a good event horse!”
Kitty King finished the highest in the individual placings for the Brits in seventh on Vendredi Biats while Townend came ninth, French 15th, Funnell 22nd and Cook 42nd.
King said: “I made a bit of a mess up at the first line, but it sharpened me up a bit! He really helped me out – he couldn’t have jumped better.
“It means everything; you always want to do the best for your country, even if you’re an individual, you’re still representing Team GBR and you want to do your best job and not let anyone down.”