Many of the biggest names in the sport have congregated at the World Equestrian Festival at Aachen, Germany this week. Aachen is the only venue to host Nations Cup competitions in the three Olympic disciplines, which all kick off tomorrow (Thursday 27 June).
The CDIO5* grand prix dressage and CICO3* eventing dressage start in the morning, with the CSIO5* Nations Cup show jumping taking place at 6.30pm BST.
World Class showjumping performance manager Rob Hoekstra has selected two of the Olympic team — Ben Maher and Nick Skelton — alongside Tina Fletcher, Guy Williams and Robert Smith, while the dressage and eventing teams bring several up-and-coming riders to represent GB.
The showjumpers have ground to make up, from fourth place after four rounds. They will also compete in Sunday’s grand prix, the first leg of the new Rolex Grand Slam, which offers €1,000,000 to any rider who can win consecutive grand prix in Aachen, Spruce Meadows and Geneva.
Just Tina Cook represents the established eventing squad, with Tom McEwen, Nicky Roncoroni, Gemma Tattersall and Izzy Taylor bidding for future championship selection. Britain is currently in second place in the Nations Cup series behind Germany, after winning at Houghton Hall last time.
World Class eventing performance manager Yogi Breisner said: “We are using this series to give riders with little or no team experience the opportunity to ride in a team, and therefore gain experience that will stand them in good stead should they represent Britain in the future. We have a blend of experience and youth.”
The dressage team consists of Hannah Biggs, Nikki Crisp, Michael Eilberg and Anna Ross Davies. Britain is currently lying in third place in the Nations Cup series behind Sweden and the Netherlands, following a win last week in the second leg, in Rotterdam. The quartet will be competing in other big tour classes over the five-day competition.
Two British young riders, Bobby Hayler and Emily Cousins, have also made the trip to Germany, to compete in the CDI-under 25 fixture.
Meanwhile, the British vaulters have already had success. Joanne Eccles won for the fifth year in a row, with the team finishing eighth in their Nations Cup.
Visit www.chioaachen.de for information, start lists, results and timetable.