Last month we supported the England mounted games team on their trip to the European Championships at Luhmühlen, Germany. Here’s their full report, written by team member Mercedes Lock.
“What a fantastic week! Even if we did pick the worse day to travel out there…
The day we left England was the day there were endless queues and troubles at Dover. Friends of ours who planned to leave Dover at 6am, sat for 7 hours not moving! Thankfully we had already planned to travel to my teammate’s house (Mitch Lyons) in Dover, 30 mins from the port. We left home in the morning to arrive for the vetting at 12pm. Ponies all passed with flying colours and due to the awful queues we decided to wait at their house until the evening to make sure the ponies were rested and we weren’t sat in hot queues! After many a trip down to the port to check out the latest queue time, they finally cleared and at about 11pm we sailed down to the port and were on our way and sailing by 1.15am Sunday morning!
Whilst my amazing mum (our only driver in the lorry for the trip) had a nap on the ferry, we went to the Truckers Lounge for a breakfast at 2am, very bizarre! Anyhow, just under 2 hours later we were off on the road in France, heading for Luhmühlen, Germany! In our 8 strong horsebox convoy we trucked our way for 12 hours, with breaks for the ponies to have a walk and a drink, through France, Belgium, Holland and finally Germany to arrive at a very hot and busy Luhmühlen Showground!
Ponies papers were checked and stables were found, after a lot of sorting in some serious heat, we were all unpacked, camp set up, kit given out, and ponies walked and tucked up in bed after a very long days’ travelling! A big shout out needs to go to my mother who drove all through the night and day, without swapping drivers to get my pony there safely! (Even if there was some awful singing to keep her going!)
So this was it, after a few days of training and getting used the the German equipment, the ring and watching all the teams we were ready to start! We were to compete in 4 qualifying sessions, from this the top 6 would qualify for the main A final. We had some great qualifying sessions, winning all 4! We felt really great as a team – myself and teammates Mitch and April ride each weekend in the same county team so we were lucky we knew how each other worked, and both other team members Sam and Elaine were very experienced international riders and everything seemed to run very smoothly!
The A final was split into 2 sessions, 12 races a session so it was anyone’s game. First part of the final came, all points back to 0, anyone can win. Who would it be, England, France, Ireland, Italy, Belgium of the hosts, Germany?
We had a great start to the final, coming out with a 12 point lead! The German crowd were beyond loud and the ponies were going up a gear, we had to keep our cool for the second part! 12 more races came and it was getting better and better and then with 2 races to go we had already won! It was the most amazing feeling, to know you’ve won and can actually relax and enjoy the last 2 races and take in the whole occasion. We won rugs and sashes and prizes, it was fantastic! I was so so proud of my team but of course my fantastic pony Jazz! She tried her absolute heart out I was so lucky to be riding her!
We partied well that evening at the Gala dinner, a week really not to forget! Couldn’t have been luckier to take part in such an amazing competiton with such an amazing team! And of course we all want to thank you for our gifts from Global Herbs! I can honestly say the Citronella Spray and FlyFree Shine Shampoo was a life saver, I’ve never seen horse flies like it! They were AWFUL!!!
Once again, on behalf of the team, myself Sadie Lock, April Wilson, Elaine Trevor Jones, Jordan Peerless, Mitch Lyons, Sam Clements and trainer Alastair Elliott, thankyou!”