Pangbourne College pupil crowned European Champion

Year-10 pupil Josie Symons helped Team GB win Gold at FEI European Showjumping Championship 2017

Pangbourne College pupil Josie Symons has helped Great Britain win a stunning Team Gold at the FEI European Showjumping Championship 2017 in Samorin, Slovakia.

Aboard Concordette RR, Josie was one of three GB riders to flawlessly go clear in a dramatic jump-off for the gold medal with Belgium, who they tensely remained deadlocked with after the regular rounds of competition in the Children section.

GB teammates Angel Tough and Matilda Lanni also went clear in the jump-off, and Belgium finally relented to the pressure of the situation 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 – who will enter Form 4 (Year 10) this September – came through tough qualifying at the end of April at Chepstow International to secure a prized GB place for August’s championship – for Young Riders, Juniors and Children – which ended on 13th August.

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 a Form 2 (Year 8) pupil at the College – was crowned county and national showjumping champion.

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? – Stacey Donnison, Pangbourne Equestrian Head of Riding

Pangbourne Equestrian Head of Riding, 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.”

She added: “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% committed to that goal.

“As huge as this achievement is, I really do believe it is a stepping stone for her. Josie has the mindset and the ability to go so far in the sport.”