The 9th European Working Equitation Championships were held at Hartpury College, Glos on 31st August – 2nd September.
Twenty five Working Equitation riders from 5 countries – Spain, Portugal, Italy, Great Britain, Belgium and Sweden contested the Championships in the brand new Hartpury Arena.
The first section of the competition comprised a spectacular cattle penning test – this was held on Friday 31st August at Castlemans Farm, Bucks, by kind permission of Mr T Rayner. The competition then moved to Hartpury College on 1st and 2nd Sept for the dressage and obstacle phases. Working Equitation is a discipline which brings the traditional skills of working horses in the field into the confines of the modern competition arena. This requires a high level of control and submission. The whole competition is ridden with the reins in one hand and riders wear the traditional outfit of their particular country.
Portugal won the team competition, Spain were placed 2nd and Italy 3rd. The Individual Champion was Miguel Fonseca from Portugal. Gt Britian came a close 4th place with an all female team. The girls’ performances were outstanding and drew unanimous praise from the judges and spectators alike. The British team comprised Alex Downing, Holly Barber, Jo Evans, Diane Clough (these 4 riders are all from Pine Lodge School of Classical Equitation, Norwich), and Leila Rahmatallah – chef d’equipe was Sherene Rahmatallah.
Professional commentator Philip Ghazala enlightened and entertained spectators throughout the weekend as the competition unfolded. The closing Prizegiving Ceremony was attended by the Rt Worshipful Mayor Councillor, Harjet Gill and Vice Coucillor of the Forest of Dean, Dr Richard Long.
The European Working Equitation Championships were held in conjunction with the inaugural Iberian Performance Show – a 2 day festival of dressage, equitation and showing classes for over 70 Spanish horses and Portuguese Lusitanos.
The Working Equitation Championships and the Iberian Performance Show were directed by Sherene Rahmatallah, chef d’equipe of the British Working Equitation team. Sherene introduced Working Equitation in the UK in 2001 – her interest in the Iberian horse, in particular the Lusitano, gave her the idea of combining the 2 events to create a truly carnival atmosphere at Hartpury last weekend.