The 2005 European Dressage Championships at Hagen, Germany, will see a new champion crowned following the retirement of Ulla Salzegber’s top ride Rusty, who won the individual title for Germany back in 2003.

Germany also took the 2003 team title and will be intending to retain their ongoing stranglehold at the top of the sport, which included taking Olympic gold in Athens last year. However, an impressive Dutch team, including individual Olympic champion Anky van Grunsven, will be pulling out all the stops in an attempt to depose the reigning champions.

The British team will be determined to retain the bronze medal they won two years ago at Hickstead. The British selectors have chosen a team that combines two new faces with two established team members for this year’s championship.

Sunshine Tour Champion 2005 Wayne Channon will be making his championship debut with the talented Lorenzo and has a new kr, developed by Dutch composing duo Cees Slings and Victor Kerkhof, who were responsible for Anky van Grunsven’s famous music scores.

Emma Hindle (pictured) has taken both her Olympic partner Wie Weltmeyer, and her up-and-coming partner Lancet, to the championships and has yet to decide which she will ride for the team.

Former successful young rider, Fiona Bigwood, will be making her debut at senior championship level riding Mr. G. de Lully, the grand prix dressage horse she purchased last November.

Carl Hester completes the team with his now infamous partner Escapado. They represented Britain at the FEI World Cup final earlier this year and were Britain’s highest placed combination at the Athens Olympics.

The German team comprises Hubertus Schmidt on Wansuela Suerte, Heike Kemmer on Bonaparte, Klaus Husenbeth on Piccolino and Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff on Sterntaler Unicef.

The Netherlands team, who will be aiming to knock the Germans off the top spot, are Anky van Grunsven on Salinero, Edward Gal on Lingh and Laurens van Lieren on Hexagon’s Ollright and Sven Rothenberger on Barclay II.

The European Dressage Championships were originally planned to take place in Moscow, but a fortnight ago the FEI ruled that an alternative venue was needed following issues over funding. Hagen stepped into the breach and Paul Schockemhle, and his team have worked flat-out over the past two weeks to prepare the venue for the prestigious event.

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