Following the announcement of the British squad for the Longines FEI European showjumping Championships in Aachen, Germany (19-23 August), we bring you all of the facts and figures about the four selected horses and riders.
Meet the British showjumping squad for the Europeans
Horse: 11-year-old Utamaro D’Ecaussines (Uta)
Owner: Ludwig Criel
Previous success: Joe made his first senior championship appearance for Great Britain at the World Equestrian Games last year. Originally from Yorkshire, he moved to Belgium over 10 years ago where he lives with his wife and three children. Joe represented Great Britain at junior level at the European Championships in 1996. Uta and Joe have been part of the British team at the past three Nations Cup events, winning in Rotterdam.
What you might not know: Joe began his career working as a stable jockey at the Brendon Stud.
His reaction to selection: “I’m delighted to have been selected and I’m really happy for Utamaro’s owner and the entire team. It’s been a lot of pressure in the lead up to this and I just want to thank everyone for putting up with me!”
Horse: 10-year-old Diva II (Diva)
Owner: Tatiana Korsakova
Previous success: No stranger to the senior Great British team, this European Championship will mark his fourth European team call-up. Ben was also a member of the 2012 Olympic Games gold medal-winning team. Ben and Diva are regulars on the Global Champions Tour circuit and most recently were on the British Nations Cup team for both Rotterdam and Hickstead.
What you might not know: Ben first represented Great Britain at the young rider Euoropeans in 2004 riding Alfredo.
His reaction to selection: “I’m very happy to be selected. Diva has been a great horse to me over the past twelve months and has proved herself to be a good team horse. Hopefully we can play a strong part in qualifying Great Britain for the Olympics.”
From: The Netherlands
Horse: 14-year-old Spirit T (Spirit)
Owner: Sarah Mendoza
Previous success: Jessica got her first British team call-up in 2010 for the pony Europeans. Last year she won team gold and individual silver at the Junior European Championships with Spirit. Originally from Wiltshire, Jessica recently moved to The Netherlands where she is now based with her parents. Spirit and Jessica have come up through the showjumping ranks together and were recently part of the winning British Nations Cup team in Rotterdam.
What you might not know: Jessica was National School individual champion at Hickstead in 2007 and 2008.
Her reaction to selection:
Horse: 10-year-old Cassionato (Casey)
Owner: Beverley Widdowson
Previous success: A stalwart of the British showjumping team for many years, this championship will mark Michael’s 14th European Championship appearance. He was a member of last year’s World Equestrian Games team riding Viking and won team gold riding the same horse at the 2013 European Championships. Michael and Casey have notched some good results on the Global Champions Tour circuit and were part of the winning Rotterdam Nations Cup team earlier this year.
What you might not know: Michael trained with legendary Swedish coach Lars Sederholm when he was 16.
His reaction to selection: “I think we’ve got a very good team, it’s been a good selection. All horses have been on really good form; in fact they have all been brilliant. I’m looking forward to it and feeling confident”.