No surprises as strong German team clinch team gold at European Dressage Championships in Verden, while Britain finishes in sixth place

No one could match the supremacy of Germany and in a country awash with a wealth of dressage horses and riders it was no surprise that they claimed their 19th consecutive European team championships.

The Netherlands retained their team silver and Denmark the team bronze with Spain onceagain settling for the fourth place.

The British team, Richard Davsion (Hiscox Askari), Emile Faurie (Reuters Rascher Hopes), Peter Storr, (Gambrinus), Laura Richardson (Millenium) finished sixth out of ten teams behind Sweden who are back in theframe.

Olympic silver medallist Isabell Werth was the first to ride for Germany scoring over 71% with Anthony FRH. After the ride of the current national German champions, Nadine Capellmann and Farbenfroh, who gained over 77%, the grand prix was a mere formality for Heike Kemmer (Albano) and Ulla Salzgeber (Rusty) to ensure their team gold.

Arjen Teeuwissen and Gestion Goliath headed the strong challenge from the Netherlands. Although sidelined since October with injury to Goliath the reigning European individual bronze medallists came straight back to top form with an inspirational display of power and suppleness. Current Dutch National champions Gonnelien Gordijn-Rothenberger with Jonggor’s Weyden the former Olympic ride of her husband Sven produced an attractive test high scoring test and team stalwarts Ellen Bontje and Gestion Silvano ensured team silver even before the ride of final team member Anky Van Grunsven (Gestion Idool).

Denmark produced three high scoring tests from Lars Petersen (Blue Hors Cavan), Lone Jorgensen (FBW Kennedy) and Jon Pedersen (Esprit de Valdemar) but could not match the strength of the Netherlands.

Spain who promised so much was unable to rise to the challenge and their first dressage medal although insight remains elusive and the team finished in a now familiar fourth place.

Nadine Cappellmann and Farbenfroh got their individual challenge off to a strong start heading the class 2% ahead of team-mate Ulla Salzgeber and Rusty the marginal favourites for individual gold. However it was not plain sailing through the grand prix and the combination made some mistakes, uncharacteristically in their normally high scoring tempi changes but such was the quality of the work that they still pulled in 75%.

Arjen Teeuwissen looks in with a chance of retaining individual bronze although compatriot Gonnelien Rothenberger is breathing down his neck. Three British riders qualified for the grand prix special with Richard Davison and Hiscox Askari marginally ahead of the team finishing in 23rd place. Emile took 24th with Laura and Millenium, taking the final ride off position of 25th.place in their first major international championship. Peter and Gambrinus were just four marks adrift but were squeezed out to finish in individual 27th.

Team result

1, Germany 5612; 2, The Netherlands 5431; 3, Denmark 5359; 4, Spain 5173; 5, Sweden 5105; 6, Great Britain 4932; 7, Austria 4917; 8, Italy 4852; 9, France 4829; 10, Russia 4775.

Grand prix -1, Fabenfroh (N Cappelmann-GER) 77.24; 2, Rusty (U Salzgeber-GER) 75.0; 3, Gestion Goliath (A Teeuwissen-NED) 72.72; 4, Jonggor’s Weyden (G Gordijn-Rothenberger-NED) 72.64; 5, Blue Hors Cavan (L Petersen-DEN) 72.52; 6, Albano (H Kemmer-GER) 72.24; 23, Hiscox Askari (R Davison-GBR) 66.16; 24, Reuters Rascher Hopes (E Faurie-GBR) 65.76; 25, Millenium (L Richardson-GBR) 65.36; 27eq, Gambrinus (P Storr-GBR) 65.2.