Emma wins gold(September 14, 2009)
Emma, Ed and Karen have just returned from a "show of a lifetime" held at the Epona Equestrian Centre, Kristiansand, Norway. The Europeans Championships is one of three major events in the Paraequestrian calendar, the other two being the World Championships(Kentucky 2010) and the Paralympics (London2012). We had been sent to get some experience of competing at this level and were hopeful of a good result. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine returning with a gold and silver medal!!
It took three days for the horses to travel overland and so it was a relief to see Eddie looking fit and well on Tuesday when we arrived. Wednesday was spent training, grooming and cleaning tack ready for the trot up on Thursday which Eddie passed with flying colours.
The team test on Friday went well and, although Eddie looked a little tense in the International arena, with a score of 69% Emma came second behind Sophie Christiansen on the seasoned campaigner Lambrusco. Emma knew that she was in with a chance of a medal if she could repeat that performance in the harder test on Saturday.
A slight change in the warm up routine meant Eddie looked more relaxed in the arena and the better rhythmn in the walk resulted in a score of 71% making Emma the European Individual silver Medallist 2009! Team sheardown were over the moon!!
On Sunday we were looking forward to just enjoying the freestyle(kur), knowing that Sophie was very strong in this event having won gold in Bejiing 2008. Emma was last to go in the class and Eddie was looking very good in the warmup. The test flowed beautifully, all the movements looked easy and the applause at the end was deafening. When asked by the stewards to keep Eddie near the competition arena, we suddenly realised that there was a chance we had won the class. After an anxious, nail biting ten minutes the result was confirmed and Emma had become European Freestyle Gold Medallist 2009. Wow! Words cannot express how we felt and it didn't really sink in until the prizegiving when the gold medal was placed around Emma's neck whilst the national anthem played.
Now back in the UK Eddie is having a well deserved rest before getting ready for the National Championships at Stoneleigh in September.
photos courtesy www.hesteguiden.com