The British Riding Clubs have named the riders that will compete in the Rural Riders European CIC** Team Eventing Championship in August.
Jo Andrews and Blue III, Jonathan Chapman and Gold Rush II, Anna Goodson and Deards Rebel Yell, Sarah Healy and Maccallum, Guy Herbert and Fortune’s Way, Caron Roberts and Alley Cat III, Vicky Tuffs and Tudor Romance, and Michael Wynne and Primitive Loch have been chosen to go to Ganderkesee, Germany, where the Europeans will take place from 11 to 14 August.
The eight combinations were picked at the end of a lengthy selection process that culminated in an intensive training camp last weekend.
“After the last championship in Belgium [when the riders produced a disappointing performance in the team dressage test] we decided we had to change the way we select the team and it had to be more performance-related,” explains Peter Buist of BRC.
The BRC agreed with British Eventing to use four CCI** and CIC** as pre-trials for the Europeans. Riders who did well at those events then went to either Windsor or Longleat. This allowed BRC to select a long-list of twelve riders, plus three reserves.
The twelve competitors attended three training camps to allow the BRC selectors to assess their skills and narrow their choice down to the final eight combinations. Six of the chosen riders will represent Britain in the team event in Ganderkesee and two will compete as individuals.
“We will pick the six in Germany after the first horse inspection,” says Buist. “We will have the trot-up on Wednesday and the selection after the trot-up.”
The Rural Riders European Championship is an unusual competition in that it has a team dressage test where the six riders all perform together. “It’s a bit like a quadrille, only it’s six of them,” explains Buist.
This test is very spectacular but it has also proved a stumbling block for the Brits in the past, preventing them from landing the elusive silver and gold medals.
“The problem is we don’t do this team test often — the first time our riders practised it was their first get-together in June — whereas Belgium and Germany do it all the time. It is very difficult to compete with that,” says Buist.
However, prospects are rosier this year and a bullish Buist doesn’t hesitate to reveal he has gold ambitions. “This year, the team test is coming together pretty well, fingers crossed. If we can stay reasonably in touch with Belgium and Germany on that, than we stand a good chance.”
The British combinations will have one last chance to hone their team dressage skills at home before taking off for the Europeans, when they will take part in the British Riding Clubs Horse Trials Championship at Offchurch Bury on Friday 5 August.