SWINDON eventer Tom McEwen helped Great Britain to win a team gold at the FEI Young Rider European Eventing Championships in Blair Castle, Scotland, last month.

The 2011 team of McEwen, Willa Newton, Wills Oakden and Dani Evans finished on a team score of 169.2, nearly nine points ahead of Ireland in the silver medal position, with Germany taking bronze.

In a tense show jumping finale, the young riders from Britain held their nerve. Willa Newton and her horse Neelix, as well as Tom McEwen and Private Rudolf, both show jumped clear to finish in second and fourth place respectively.

Individual gold went to Freya Fullgraebe (Oje Oje) of Germany, while individual bronze was awarded to Irish rider David Hannigan and Red Baron.

All our riders are members of the UK Sport-funded BEF World Development Team.

Speaking to the Standard, Tom said: “I’m very, very happy. This was a great result for the team and we’re especially delighted to have secured the result for Gill Watston - this year’s chef d’equipe - who has helped us so much.

"I clocked up four time penalties on the cross country because I had to take the long route at the second water, but luckily it didn’t impede the scores.”

Tom was particularly pleased with his individual result as the cross country at Blair Castle is set on notoriously tricky terrain.

“We had a lovely ride despite the time. Even though it is a two star event, the cross country felt like a two-and-a-half-star, but I like that as you can really attack the fences and get a chance to pull back and recover in between.”

Since winning gold in Scotland, Tom has picked up another first in the Open Novice U21 class at Highclere on La Lux. This weekend he competes at Burghley.

Tom has one year left in Young Riders and is looking towards Badminton 2012 with Dry Old Party, his Burghley horse.

GREAT BRITAIN’S Equestrian teams have had a very successful European Championship season, despite a few hiccups.

The GB team won gold in the dressage for the first time, while the Eventing team had to settle for bronze behind Germany and France in their bid to retain the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships at Luhmühlen in Germany.

Sadly, Polly Stockton had to withdraw her horse through injury before the event started and Mary King suffered a heavy fall on the cross country.

Wiltshire’s Laura Collett, riding as an individual, was the best-placed British rider after the dressage phase in fourth place, but her chances of a medal unravelled on the cross country course.

Laura’s horse Rayef was eventually eliminated for three refusals, the first of which was at the second arena complex (Fence 10).

The GB teams have competed in seven different disciplines, including the less popular driving and reining classes which are getting some recognition thanks to great results.

They have been competing across Europe in many of the top equestrian venues, from Portugal to Poland.

Still to come are the championship classes for endurance, para-equestrian dressage and show jumping.

THE BURGHLEY International Horse Trials begins today at Burghley House in Lincolnshire (September 1-4).

As well as the influential Open class, Burghley hosts the final of the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse Series.

This year is the 50th Anniversary of the Horse Trials and it will once again be the final event in the Rolex Grand Slam, which also includes Badminton and Kentucky three-star events.

William Fox-Pitt is favourite to clinch his sixth win at Burghley and Mary King is another contender with her Lexington winner King’s Temptress.

Tickets are still available and highlights will be televised on BBC 2 on Sunday at 2pm.