Britain’s dressage team destined for the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany (20 August – 3 September) has been announced. The team was selected by Chariman of Selectors David Trott and Judy Harvey.
Making her debut on a senior championship team is 21-year-old Laura Bechtolsheimer with Douglas Dorsey (pictured). Bechtolsheimer has had a whirlwind year, crowned youngest British National Champion and scoring over 73% in the World Cup final in Amsterdam with Douglas Dorsey.
Emma Hindle has also received her WEG call-up. Hindle was a member of the bronze medal winning European Championship team in 2003, the Athens Olympic team and the European Championship team in 2005. Over the last six months Hindle and former Dutch team horse Lancet have competed in seven international competitions, scoring 73.25% in the World Cup qualifier at Olympia, and 70.75% to win the Grand Prix at Stadl Paura CDI in April.
Joining Hindle and Bechtolsheimer will be Wayne Channon (Lorenzo CH) and Sandy Phillips (Lara 106). Channon, from East Sussex, took up dressage in 1991 and since 2003 has regularly competed internationally, winning both the grand prix and grand prix kür at Lipica CDI-W earlier this month.
Until recently Sandy Phillips was a member of the selection committee and she has a wealth of experience having competed in three previous World Equestrian Games, an Olympic Games and a European Championships. Phillips will be partnering Lara 106 at WEG. The pair finished in third place in the grand prix special at Rotterdam CHIO this weekend, finishing in third place behind Anky van Grunsven and Isabell Werth.
“The team we’ve selected has experience and talent, and each of them have produced strong results in good company over the last 12 months,” said David Trott. “It is a credit to the growing depth of British dressage at this top level that we have had the chance to select a team with high hopes of being in the medal zone, despite having some top horses sidelined through minor injuries.”
The grand prix at WEG will be split into two sections, the first running on Tuesday 22 August and the second the following day. The three highest scores from each country will decide the team medals. The top 30 individuals will then go forward to ride in the grand prix special to be held on Friday 25 August and compete for individual medals. All four team riders may compete in the grand prix special.
Individual medals will also be awarded for the grand prix kür on 26 August. The top 15 competitors from the grand prix special will qualify to start in the grand prix kür.
The 2006 World Equestrian Games has added importance as the top three dressage teams will qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Three further qualification places will be available for Western European League countries at the European Championships 2007.
In the run up to WEG Laura Bechtolsheimer and Emma Hindle will take part in Hartpury CDI (5 – 9 July). Wayne Channon is scheduled to compete at Vierzon in France (13-16 July) and will be competing at Hickstead CDIO (26 – 30 July) as will Sandy Phillips and Lara 106.
Maria Eilberg (Two Sox), Emile Faurie (Rascher Hopes) and Ferdi Eilberg (Teutone Z) have all been selected as WEG reserves. Ferdi is also acting as team coach, with David Trott as chef d’equipe and John McEwen as team vet.