Equestrian fans are being urged to head to Windsor next week to support Britain’s dressage and show jumping teams who stand a real chance of picking up medals at the Alltech FEI European Jumping and Dressage Championships.
After a tricky summer in the Nations Cup series (news, 13 August), the Team GB jumpers need support more than ever during the competition at Windsor from 25 to 31 August.
An experienced squad of Geoff Billington (Rosinus), Peter Charles (Murka’s Pom D’Ami), Ben Maher (Robin Hood W), Robert Smith (Vangelis S) and Tim Stockdale (Fresh Direct Corlato) told H&H they are looking forward to jumping on British soil in front of a home crowd — and improving on the bronze medal Britain won in 2007.
Britain is one of 25 nations entered for the show jumping Europeans, 21 of which will field a team.
The British team of Laura Bechtolsheimer (Mistral Hojris, reserve Andretti H), Maria Eilberg (Two Sox), Carl Hester (Liebling II) and Emma Hindle (Lancet) face 13 teams for the dressage championships. Seven more nations have entered the individual championships.
The Netherlands also look strong to defend both their team and individual gold — with Anky van Grunsven confirmed to attend.
Laura Bechtolsheimer said the team is the strongest Britain has ever had.
“We’re on good form, too,” she said. “We have a serious chance of pulling a medal out.”
Laura said the Windsor Castle setting, combined with a high number of entries for the individual championships, will make for the most exciting championship yet.
She added: “Having home support will make a massive difference — not only for the riders but the horses, too, they really know when the crowd is rooting for them.”
British Equestrian Federation chief executive Andrew Finding added his call for support: “Our riders need you: come and wave your GB flags!”
Tickets for the Alltech FEI European Jumping and Dressage Championships 2009 are available, tel: 0871 230 1087 or visit www.alltechwindsoreuropeans.com
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (20 August, ’09)