Marlborough's Josie Symons and GB team crowned European champions
Marlborough’s Josie Symons has helped Great Britain win a stunning team gold at the International Equestrian Federation's European Showjumping Championship 2017 for Young Riders, Juniors and Children on Horses in Samorin, Slovakia (8-13 August).
Aboard Concordette RR, Josie was one of three GB riders to go clear in a dramatic jump-off with Belgium for the gold medal. Great Britain and Belgium remained deadlocked at the top of the leader board with after the regular rounds of competition in the Children on Horses section. (That's a step up from the Children on Ponies cometitions.)
GB team-mates Angel Tough and Matilda Lanni also went clear in the jump-off, and Belgium finally succumbed to the pressure of the jump-off with only one clear round and two penalty scores of four.
Britain’s fourth and final rider Oliver Fletcher did not even have to jump again and GB and Josie could celebrate being crowned European champions. Poland – following a jump-off with Denmark – won bronze.
Josie attends Pangbourne College and starts her Year 10 there in September. She came through tough qualifying at the end of April at the Chepstow International to secure a prized GB team place for this month's championship event in Slovakia.
Concordette RR is a British-bred, 10-year-old bay mare owned by Josie’s mother Mrs Julie Symons. In the opening rounds of competition in Samorin this week, Josie and Concordette RR went clear twice before picking up four penalties in the final round.
In 2015-16 Josie – then in Year 8 at the College – became county and national showjumping champion.
Pangbourne Equestrian Head of Riding, Miss Stacey Donnison said: “It is incredible. Josie is relatively new to the international circuit, so to put such a stamp on it, in such a short space of time puts her up there with the best. What is better than gold? When I found out the news, it sent tingles down my spine.”
“Josie is very good to work with. You always knew she had much bigger goals than even schools’ equestrian. Once, at the start of the year, she put down ‘the Olympics’ as a future aspiration."
"Now, with most pupils you would take that with a pinch of salt, but with Josie you knew she was 100 per cent committed to that goal."
“As huge as this achievement is, I really do believe it is a stepping stone for her. Josie has the mind-set and the ability to go so far in the sport.”
Photo courtesy British Showjumping. L to R: Angel Tough, Clare Whitaker (former leading showjumper & member of British Showjumping's International Committee), Matilda Lanni, Josie Symons & Oliver Fletcher