9 ways to get into the Aachen European Championships spirit

Are you ready for Aachen? The European Championships in dressage and showjumping — as well as driving, reining and vaulting, plus non-European Championships eventing — take place from 11-23 August in Germany. We’ve got plenty of fun ways for you to feel involved, even if you’re not leaving your sofa.

1. Get patriotic

This is a great time to show your support for British teams. The showjumpers are gunning for Olympic qualification while the dressage riders will be looking to be competitive and bring home medals. Who doesn’t want to support that?

Here are some ways to show your patriotism:

– Paint Union flags on your nails (or buy foils if you’re not so good at nail art)

Buy or make Union flag cakes to eat while you’re watching the action. Red, white and blue icing, anyone?

– Dye your hair in the Union flag colours — your boss will love this one

Put on face paint in the Union flag colours — probably best limited to out of office hours, unless you’re a primary school teacher

2. Follow British dressage and showjumping European Championships riders on social media

Carl Hester: https://www.facebook.com/carlhester or @hesterdressage

Charlotte Dujardin: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Charlotte-Dujardin or @CSJDujardin

Michael Eilberg: https://www.facebook.com/eilbergdressage or @Eilbergdressage

Check back for ways to follow our showjumpers once selection has been made

3. Check out the dressage tests

Take a look at the grand prix, grand prix special and grand prix freestyle to music sheets here to find out what’s required of the dressage competitors.

Add another dimension by practising the movements yourself — ok, you might not be up to piaffe and passage, but anyone can perfect their centreline and halt.

4. Put Thursdays in your diary

Make sure you don’t miss any of these issues of H&H so you’re fully informed:

6 August — dressage preview
13 August — showjumping preview
20 August — dressage report
27 August — showjumping report

In fact, why don’t you just take out a subscription and be sure you never miss a thing?

5. Learn more about the British athletes and support team

Check out biogs for all the British athletes — in vaulting, driving and reining as well as the better known showjumping and dressage riders — on the Team GBR website.

There’s also a section where you can learn all about the invaluable support team, who work behind the scenes to help those in the limelight to deliver their best performances.

Continued below…

6. Plan your European Championships fortnight

Assuming you’re not going to Aachen in person, have you checked out the timetable and TV times to make sure you can watch your favourite events?

Do you need to take days off work so you can watch from the luxury of your sofa — while wearing patriotic face paint and eating patriotic cakes — rather than having to sneak glances at FEI TV from your desk?

Provisional BBC coverage:

16 August, 2.50-4pm: dressage freestyle, BBC Two

16 August, 12.20-4.20pm: dressage freestyle, BBC red button (will have a commentary-free option)

20 August, 1.15-4.55pm: first round team showjumping, red button and BBC Sport website

21 August, 4-7.20pm: second round team showjumping, BBC Sport website

22 August, 2.30-4pm: showjumping team highlights, BBC One and BBC Sport website

23 August, 3-5.40pm: showjumping individual competition, red button and BBC sport website

24 August, 3-4pm: showjumping individual highlights

Coverage will also be available through the paid-for FEI TV service — visit feitv.org for more info.

7. Buy some merchandise from the online shop

An Aachen Euros cap? A hoodie? A T-shirt? Yes please!

8. Get into the German spirit

Eat sauerkraut, wear lederhosen. Oh — and make sure your horsey German is up to scratch. Do you know the German for clear round, four faults and “he’s gone into the lead”?

9. Download the Aachen 2015 app

The app promises rider biogs, a site plan, results and a game called “Karli’s Horseshoes” to entertain you between events.

In addition, there will be a public judging competition for the dressage and vaulting. We’re also promised real-time, live information on the cross-country for the Nations Cup eventing, which is taking place alongside the dressage, showjumping, driving, vaulting and reining European Championships.

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