Ava Vernon claims Individual Gold for GB at the Junior European Championships
Saturday 24 July 2021
It was an incredible afternoon for the Brits this afternoon, competing under the title sponsor banner of Team NAF, at the Youth European Championships when Ava Vernon won the Junior Individual Gold title to add to Team Bronze that she assisted GB win earlier in the week.
Riding the 12 year-old bay mare Jolie Fleur van de Noordheuvel, owned by Dean Vernon, Ava had sat in silver medal position across the initial three legs of the competition having delivered three foot-perfect performances to only carry forward the first leg coefficient of 0.39. Coming into the fourth and final leg of the competition it had been Tom Wachman (IRL) who held the lead but with so many combinations sitting with less than a single penalty between them the competition was wide open for the taking.
From an initial field of over hundred Junior riders the Final had been whittled down to the twenty-seven starters this afternoon. Whether it was the pressure they were riding under or the technical questions being asked of them, the first round this afternoon certainly caught a few out including Ava who picked up four penalties at the third obstacle when a top pole lowered. This saw Ava slide down the scoreboard along with Tom Wachman (IRL) who had been sitting in pole position overnight when he also picked up 4 penalties.
This saw both Ava and Tom come forward to the second round of todays Final competition with less than a single point between themselves and the two Belgium riders Tristan and Aurelia Guisson making it a highly charged four-way battle. With both Belgium riders posting a clear, there was no option at all for error when Ava entered the arena as the penultimate rider with just Tom Wachman to follow. Jumping an outstanding clear, she broke the finish line knowing she had done enough to secure a medal and it must have been a nail-biting wait whilst she watched Tom jump to see whether she was able to climb up another notch and take Gold.
Silence fell around the arena as Tom set off, but an early fence down saw him have to add another 4 penalties to his score and fall outside of the medal winning places leaving Ava to step into pole position on the podium and pass Silver to Triston and Bronze to Aurelia for Belgium. It was an elated team that surrounded Ava to congratulate her as soon as her medal win became evident making it the fourth medal for the Brits so far at the Championships.
Great Britain were further represented in the final line-up by Oliver Fletcher from Faringdon in Oxfordshire with Hello William owned by Lady Kirkham and Lady Harris with his 6th place finish which he had come forward with overnight.
For full results, visit https://online.equipe.com/en/competitions/42157
British Showjumping would like to thank NAF, title sponsors of the Senior Nations Cup Teams along with the Pony, Children, Junior, Young Rider and Veteran teams.
NAF’s premium range of Five Star brands include Superflex, Superflex Senior, PROFEET, Optimum, Magic, Oestress and Respirator Boost with quality at the heart of everything they do. They are a UFAS (Universal Feed Assurance Scheme), GMP+ (International Feed Assurance Scheme) and BETA NOPS (Naturally Occuring Prohibited Substances) accredited company and this enables them to guarantee full traceability on all the natural ingredients they utilise in their formulations, which are also selected in compliance with the FEI guidelines for Clean Sport. For further information, visit www.naf-equine.eu/uk/index.jsp.
The GBR showjumping teams are supported by the British Equestrian Federation’s World Class Programme, funded by UK Sport through the National Lottery. The Programme focuses on identifying talent, developing potential and maximising medal-winning performances on the world stage. The teams are further supported by LeMieux, who supply the teams with saddlepads and rugs.