Michael Jung’s first-choice horse, Lennox 364, has been ruled out of the European Championships in Strzegom, Poland (17-20 August).
The German superstar posted on his Facebook page today that he is “feeling devastated” as Lennox has an injury which means he cannot start in Aachen this month (19-23 July). He added that as Aachen is the last opportunity for horses to be seen before the Europeans, this also means the horse is out of contention for the championships.
“We hope he will soon be healthy and show what he can do,” said Michael.
Michael will now ride FischerRocana FST at the Europeans. The 12-year-old mare has only once contested a senior championship, the 2014 World Equestrian Games, at which she won individual silver and team gold. She has won Kentucky CCI4* the past three years in a row.
Michael, who won double gold at the Olympics last year on La Biosthetique-Sam FBW, revealed his season plans in February, saying then that Lennox was his first choice for the European Championships. He reinforced this at Saumur CCI3*, where Lennox finished fifth with two showjumps down.
The rider said then: “He’s not experienced and he’s very big, I’ve given him a lot of time to be well balanced and fit. I did a lot of two-stars to make him feel comfortable. He was always a good horse, but it used to feel like everything was too much for him. You can’t just press the button. He is already getting much stronger.
“I think he will be a really top horse, maybe the Euros, but definitely in two years’ time — for the World Equestrian Games and certainly by Tokyo [2020 Olympics]. He’s going to be fantastic.”
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Rio champion Michael has an unequalled record at recent championships — he has won individual gold at six of the past seven championships. His individual gold medals are from: 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky (La Biosthetique-Sam FBW), 2011 European Championships in Luhmühlen (La Biosthetique-Sam FBW), 2012 Olympics in London (La Biosthetique-Sam FBW), 2013 European Championships in Malmö (Halunke FBW), 2015 European Championships at Blair (FischerTakinou) and 2016 Olympics in Rio (La Biosthetique-Sam FBW).
Germany named its probable European Championship riders after Luhmühlen in June. The riders likely to join Michael in the squad are Andreas Dibowski (FRH Butts Avedon or It’s Me xx), Bettina Hoy (Designer 10 or Seigneur Medicott), Ingrid Klimke (Horseware Hale Bob OLD) and Julia Krajewski (Chipmunk FRH and Samourai Du Thot), plus one more.