Dressage rider Clare Hole says ‘it feels like a dream’ after helping Great Britain to gold at the FEI European Championships for Ponies.
The Bury St Edmunds equestrian star and her pony Rembrandt were part of the GB team to clinch top spot for the first time ever in Malmo, Sweden.
The Britsh team also won gold in both the showjumping and eventing events.
Hole, 13, said: “It still feels like a dream and I can’t put into words how I’m feeling right now.
“To win gold is very special and it was so nice to be part of Team GB and the excellent team spirit.
“When they played the Great Britain national anthem on the podium it was very emotional.
“I’m so proud of my pony and the Scruton family for letting me have the opportunity of riding Rembrandt.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me, especially my family. Without their help this wouldn’t have been possible.”
The competition attracted teams from 13 countries including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden.
Germany has long dominated the team podium, but this time around they had to settle for silver ahead of Denmark in bronze.
The British team of Isobel Berrington (DHI Langar), Rebecca Bell (Valido’s Sunshine) and Hole (Rembrandt) all posted scores in the low-70s.
But Phoebe Peters and her 13-year-old German-bred pony SL Lucci were awarded a massive 80.077 to lift Great Britain from the bronze medal spot up to the top of the podium.
Hole’s mum Rachel said: “The European Championships are the equivilant to the Olympics for the ponies as there are no higher events than this.
“When the European Championships were held in the UK back in 2010, Clare went along to watch and she never even thought she’d be part of it.
“This is beyond her wildest dreams.”
Her sister Ruth was also involved in the championships and was first reserve for the British squad in the junior horse event (under-18s) and ponies (under-16s).
“They are both very competitve, but they support each other and make a very good team,” commented Rachel.
“It is the ultimate dream for both of them to be part of the Great Britain team. I’m so very proud.”