A remarkable performance from 16-year-old Harry Allen and the 15-year-old mare Cassandra van het Roelhof, saw them finish five rounds of demanding jumping with just a single time fault. Allen, a pupil at Newtown School in Waterford, entered the final round tied with Britain’s Eleanor Hall-McAteer with Tixylix on a zero score. Allen jumped first and finished with just a time fault which guaranteed him a medal but he had to wait until the final rider jumped to see what colour it would be. Last to go, Eleanor Hall McAteer finished with eight faults which meant Harry Allen was crowned the new European Pony Show Jumping Champion. The result comes seven years after Harry’s brother Bertram Allen also won individual European Pony Gold, at Bishop Burton in the UK riding Acapella.
An outstanding clear final round from Athlone’s Kate Derwin and the Clive Swindell-owned Connemara Pony, Cul Ban Mistress, saw them add to Ireland’s medal haul, as they secured the individual Silver Medal. Kate Derwin, a student at Our Lady’s Bower in Athlone, finished with just four faults over the five rounds of jumping. The 15-year-old completed a remarkable day by singing the Irish National Anthem on the podium as she and Harry Allen collected their medals. Sweden’s Cora Hirn took the Bronze medal with Miskaun Harvey.
Seamus Hughes-Kennedy, a pupil at St Kieran’s College in Kilkenny, also produced a superb performance with Cuffesgrange Cavalidam (ISH) and finished in a hugely impressive seventh place on the final standings. Mayo’s Ciaran Nallon with Rextor d’Or finished 15th, with Cork’s Abbie Sweetnam and Dynamite Spartacus (ISH) in 21st.
The GAIN Irish Pony Show Jumping team of Harry Allen, Kate Derwin, Abbie Sweetnam and Ciaran Nallon, led by team manager Gary Marshall, had earlier collected the European Pony Jumping Team Gold Medal on Friday
The GAIN Irish Pony Eventing team of Zara Nelson, Hannah Adams, Isabelle Comerford and Jennifer Kuehnle, managed by Becky Cullen, also won the Team Bronze Medal at the same venue on Saturday.
A delighted Irish Pony Show Jumping Team Manager Gary Marshall said:
“This was a historic result for us here this week. These kids rode out of their skin. I have never seen such a focused bunch of riders. I told them before today’s final that they have their team medals in the bag, they are the European Champions and to go into the ring and ride like champions. That’s exactly what they did. The course builder here did a brilliant job, the surface was perfect and the organizers of these Championships deserve a huge amount of credit.”
When asked about Kate Derwin’s brilliant rendition of the National Anthem on the podium, Gary Marshall said,
“Kate did a lot of singing on Friday night after we won team Gold so we knew she was a great singer, she was fantastic.”
Horse Sport Ireland interim Chairman Jim Beecher added:
“This result crowns a remarkable weekend for Irish Equestrian sport. To win Show Jumping Team Gold, individual Gold and Silver and Team Bronze in Eventing is incredible. Every single Irish rider who traveled to these championships did their country proud, including our Dressage Pony riders who were also outstanding. Our team managers Gary Marshall, Becky Cullen and Anne Marie Dunphy, along with all involved in the High Performance programme deserve huge credit and all those working behind the scenes to make this possible.”
source: official Irish website
image: European Pony Show Jumping champion Harry Allen with Cassandra van het Roelhof (Photo: Helen Revington/Focus On Horses)