Emma gets last minute call up to The Europeans

(September 26, 2011)

What a busy month it has been, as I was reserve for the European Championships in Moorselle, Belgium I had to prepare as though we were going to the Europeans – but deep down thought that the likelihood of Eddie and I getting called up to go was pretty slim!!

August bank holiday Monday was the day that the team were all meeting at the Arrow RDA Centre near the Dartford crossing in Kent. I had been told that I had to get everything packed – just in case, so Karen, Nicky, Mum and I set about packing the lorry – knowing that we would be more than likely un-packing it all the next day!

I knew that I was going to get a phone call after 3pm once they had trotted the horses up, to say either that they didn’t need me or to get down to Dartford quickly. It seemed an eternity waiting for a phone call, in fact when it got to nearly 5pm it did briefly cross my mind as to whether there was a problem.....with that the phone rang and it was Karen to say that David Hunter (Chef d’Equipe) had phoned her to say that unfortunately Sophie Christiansen’s (fellow grade 1a) horse had failed the vet check, and would Karen, Nicky, Eddie and I ‘calmly’ make our  way down to Dartford – so by 6pm we were loaded up and on the road! It was difficult being reserve as I had mixed feelings – as obviously I was delighted that Eddie and I were off to the Europeans – but I knew that my fortune was poor Sophie’s mis-fortune!! It was great as Nicky was able to come too – this was her first international trip!!!

We got to the Arrow at about 9:45pm, everyone was there to help us unload, as reserve we hadn’t been given a trunk and we thought that we would get one on arrival at the Arrow, but there wasn’t one for us, so we had to grab hay bags and other things to pack everything in to keep things together.

After a nights rest Eddie was on the road again at 6am, and we followed on later in the Team GBR Discovery’s.


On arrival in Belgium and after the trot up it was announced that Eddie and I were on the team for the team competition. The team consists of four riders – Myself, fellow Grade 1a rider Anne Dunham, Deb Criddle (Grade 3) and Sophie  Wells (Grade 4).  It was an honour to ride on the team, although it comes with a huge sense of responsibility because Great Britain have been unbeaten in all Major Championships since 1996!!

I shouldn’t have worried, Anne and Sophie won both of their team and individual tests, Debs won the grade three team test and got the Silver medal in the individual, and I came a very close second behind Anne in both the team test and the individual – this meant that not only did I win an Individual Silver Medal, but collectively we had secured team GOLD, with over a 10% lead on Denmark – The Girls had done it!!!

I was so pleased with Eddie all weekend, in the working-in he produced some lovely work for both Karen and I, and has really grown up when it comes to working with other horses. I think that the work that I produced in the working-in is some of the best work that I have got. The next step is to get that quality of work in the test, having said that I was very pleased with my team and championship tests. Yes, I obviously wanted to win, but Anne and I were so, so close and from a team prospective we did our job – Gold and Silver!! I have enormous respect for Anne, her horsemanship and skill is something that I aspire to, as she rides with every ounce of energy that she can find!!

I was bitterly disappointed with my freestyle! I really hoped that I could defend my European title – but it wasn’t to be. I have got new music that I am probably not 100% familiar with yet and also Eddie was a little in-attentive, which meant that it wasn’t as smooth as it could have been – but it still earned us a Silver Medal – and another GBR Gold and Silver!!!


What a fantastic week – The highlight of the week for me was the team result! Once more, in the team competition although there are four members of the team, only the top three scores actually count – and I felt that my main achievement of the weekend was knowing that my score counted towards this fantastic team result!!    


I would like to say a huge thank you to Karen, Nicky and Angela for all their hard work and support prior to and at the Europeans – now all focus of course is on Eddie and I earning one of those five precious places at the London 2012 Paralympic Games!!








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