After a week of discussions, Hagen in Germany has been revealed as the new location for the European Dressage Championships. The FEI has been deliberating over offers from several national federations following the decision to withdraw the championships from Moscow.
Ulli Kasslemann, of the German Equestrian Federation, and Hagen organiser Paul Schockemöhle offered to stage the dressage Europeans on the same weekend as the cancelled Moscow championships (26-31 July).
As this will enable the riders to maintain their training schedule, cause minimal disruption to the FEI Calendar and cause no disruption to television broadcast schedules, the FEI considered Hagen’s proposal to be the best offer.
FEI Chairman Mariette Withages told Horse & Hound Online: “It is really good news. Hagen was selected because it could maintain the same dates.” The FEI felt this was of paramount importance as competitors have been preparing their horses to be at their peak for the end of July.
Withages describes Hagen as an attractive place, which is well versed in running events of the highest level. ‘They have also just built a new arena,’ she added.
British Dressage is delighted at the news. “It is fantastic that it is going ahead,” said spokeswoman Jo Bagnall. “I’m sure it will be as superb as any event could be with just two weeks notice.”
Hagen is a particularly convenient location for the British Dressage team since Fiona Bigwood and Emma Hindle both live in Germany full time and Wayne Channon lives in nearby Belgium. Only Carl Hester will be travelling from the UK.
An alternative venue for the championships was sought after an FEI investigation found that the original venue of Moscow was lacking the necessary funds. Organisers in Russia were given a fortnight to find the money, but eventually the FEI ruled than another venue would have to be found.
Withages has every confidence that the championships will be a success: “I have no doubt that Hagen will organise a good competition.”