Last week it was the great championship of the year for children, junior and Young Riders in French Vidauaban.
It was a week with a lot of good riding and success for the Swedish riders despite the extreme heat where a number of riders fainted due to sunstroke. It was very difficult conditions where the riders trained and competed without being able to find any shadow and 5 days of glowing sun and close to 40 degrees.
4 of the riders from the Swedish team were from the Nursery in the South, half of the junior team and half of the Young Rider team.
Competing for the juniors were Sofie Andersson & Donna Samba (Sandro´s Bube - Bernstein) and Lina Jönsson who competed her first European Championship on Barreiro (United - Balzflug).
As a Young Riders even the big Emma Jönsson competed her first European Championship. She competed the horse Santo Domingo (Samba Hit II - Flemmingh) and Marina Mattsson competed her last European Championship as a Young Rider on the approved stallion Double Diamond II (Don Primero - Romadour II) from Hannell Dressage.
In the team competition for juniors Sofie & Donna Samba was the best Swedish combination with 68,081% and Lina & Barreiro received 66,486%. In the individual championship Sofie & Donna Samba got 68,947% and Lina & Barreiro received 67,132% as the second best Swedish combination after Sofie. Unfortunately Sofie was the first combination outside the kür finals on Sunday.
Among the Young Riders it was 4 really good rides by all team members, so good that the team won a bronze medal and with good margin to the 4th placed team. Actually so good that they would have won a bronze medal even without Marinas fantastic ride for which she received 73,579% where Marina also finished 5th individually. Emma & Santo Domingo got 68,921% and both Marina and Emma could go home each with a team bronze medal together with their teammates Alva Lander and Victoria Appleyard.
But Marina continued… When it was time for the individual Championship program on Saturday Marina & Double Diamond did another great ride on 75,289% which led to an individual bronze medal in the championship program det. Emma & Santo Domingo finessed just outside placement with 69,421%.
For the first time in a very long time Sweden had all 4 Young Riders within the top 18 to participate in the finals on Sunday. Unfortunately only 3 rider from each country may ride the kür finals and since Emma came last of the Swedish riders, she was not allowed to ride the kür on Sunday. But what a good message for the future that Sweden has such a strong Young Rider team!
Marina was thereby the only Nursery student to compete at the kür finals on Sunday and the combination did it again again… with not less than 79,350% and excitement until the end. First when the last rider had finished her ride it was clear that Marina would be going home from her last Young Rider European Championship with 3 bronze medals - that were also her first European championship medals.
What a finish for Marina!
Marina is already successful and has competed U25 as well as senior Grand Prix internationally. A very promising rider fir the future of Swedish dressage.