Fifteen nations line up for Longines FEI European Eventing Championships 2015
Fifteen nations and 66 horse and rider combinations will line up for the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships 2015, Blair Castle.
All the British riders came through the first horse inspection, including Sarah Bullimore and Lilly Corinne who were called on as late replacement for Dani Evans who had to withdraw Smart Time from competition.
Smart Time, owned by Mrs Luana Edge, was substituted when he was assessed to be under the weather. Great Britain’s Chef d’Equipe Yogi Breisner commented; “A routine set of bloods were taken, which are not quite right and in the best interests of the horse we have decided to withdraw him from the competition.”
Following the trot-up, the quartet who will contest the team event for Great Britain will be made up of Kitty King (Persimmon), Nicola Wilson (One Two Many), Pippa Funnell (Sandman 7) and William Fox Pitt (Bay My Hero).
Prior to the start of the competition, forner double European champion Pippa Funnel said: “It’s always a thrill to be part of the team, I’m excited but also horribly nervous, apprehensive – all those feelings you get you want things to go well. The ground conditions feel great and all the preparation has gone to plan, so I am pleased with how Sandman has come into it. I’m very excited to see how he goes with this step up – everything he has done he has shown a lot of promise. I think the Germans are strong, but we have a good squad and many have got a strong chance of being up there when it comes to the shakedown. The team spirit is great and it’s a thrill to be on home territory.”
The remaining eight riders will compete as individuals – Sarah Bullimore (Lilly Corinne), Laura Collett (Grand Manoeuvre), Wills Oakden (Greystone Midnight Melody), Gemma Tattersall (Arctic Soul), Izzy Taylor (KBIS Briarlands Matilda), Oliver Townend (Fenyas Elegance), Francis Whittington (Easy Target) and Holly Woodhead (DHI Lupison).
Three horses were held during the first horse inspection lead by the ground jury of Sue Baxter (President), Andrew Bennie and Sandor Fulop.
The horse of Russian rider Igor Atrokhov – Indigo Pyreneen – was sent to the holding box and eliminated upon being re-inspected, and he will take no further part in the competition. This leaves three remaining riders for Russia, and all their scores will count towards the team competition.
Sweden’s Ludwig Svennerstal with Franzipan and Spain’s Maria Pinedo Sendagorta with Carriem van Colen Z were also sent to the holding box, but both horses were passed after re-inspection.
Reigning European champions Germany have fielded a strong strong team as they bid to retain the title they won in Malmo two years ago. Dirk Schrade will lead the team off, which includes last week’s Burghley winner Michael Jung, Sandra Auffarth and Ingrid Klimke, who was crowned the winner of the FEI Classics competition.
Ahead of the competition, Ingrid commented: “As I expected, it’s a beautiful course but also very hill. We need a horse which is fit for the condition but also a jumper. There are a lot of downhill landings so as a rider you need a very good position. We have had the pressure (of being favourites) for quite a while but we enjoy the pressure because we worked hard to have it. It encourages us not to make any mistakes and stay up there. I know the Brits are very strong and there are many really good combinations. But we are here in top form and ready for the next adventure.”
Dressage starts tomorrow with the first rider – Theo Van De Vendal with Zidane – will be first in the arena at 10.20am. Eventing Worldwide will be bringing you regular updates from the championships to keep you up to date with the latest information.
Photographs courtesy of Dave Cameron
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