With the benefit of Paris 2024 Olympic qualification already in the bag, Great Britain’s showjumping chef d’equipe Di Lampard has had the luxury of being able to field a real mix of championship debutants and seasoned pros for this year’s European Showjumping Championships in Milan, Italy (30 August-3 September). But there’s also the hope that Great Britain’s showjumpers can continue to build on the superb medal hauls of recent years. So who has been chosen for the British team for the 2023 European Showjumping Championships?
British team for the European Showjumping Championships 2023
Harry Charles and Casquo Blue
The youngest member of the British team at the European Showjumping Championships 2023, 24-year-old Harry Charles, is actually one of the most experienced riders on the British squad, certainly when it comes to championship mileage, and the world’s leading under-25 rider has been to an Olympic Games as well as winning team bronze at the world showjumping championships last year, then riding the great Romeo 88.
For his first crack at a European Championships, Harry brings the Stall Zet-owned Casquo Blue, a 13-year-old son of Chacco-Blue x Carthago Z, who was bred by Paul Schockemohle. The gelding is looked after and beautifully turned out by Harry’s groom Georgia Ellwood. The pair jumped double clear to help Great Britain win the Nations Cup at Hickstead last month – his second consecutive faultless performance in that competition – and the combination have earned plenty of five-star placings, proving their big track abilities. However, Harry also has a direct reserve horse in the 12-year-old Aralyn Blue, who is by the same sire as Casquo Blue and owned by Ann Thompson. It surely can’t be long before this young superstar makes it onto the individual podium.
Tim Gredley and Medoc De Toxandria
The king of comebacks, it’s been 17 years since 37-year-old father of two Tim Gredley last rode at a championship, having retired from the sport for several years to work in his family business. But he’s back in the British team for the European Showjumping Championships 2023 and riding in the best form of his life, already proving a real team asset in this season’s five-star Nations Cups with the 11-year-old 16.2hh gelding Medoc De Toxandria (Der Senaat III x Kelvin De Sainte Hermelle, bred by Werner Dierckx), who he’s been riding for the past year (pictured below).
Among their team highlights were victory on home soil at Hickstead and the second-placed finish in Aachen. Medoc is looked after by groom Paul Drew and is owned by the Unex Competition Yard. He was sourced for Tim by Hickstead Derby winner David Simpson, but previous riders also include Trevor Breen and Guy Williams.
“Medoc wasn’t the most obvious horse to buy, but one of the things I enjoy and maybe I’m good at, is picking horses – and maybe not choosing the most obvious ones,” says Tim. “I’d say Medoc is unique! Now I’ve got to know him, I find him easy, but he has a special way of doing things – he’s just always on his forehand. So he might be a bit unorthodox, but what he lacks there, he gives you in confidence and that’s probably why we’re a good combination. He finds it so easy and he enjoys life.”
Tim’s return to the British team fold has been his ambition since returning to the sport and he says he’s “loving every minute”.
Sam Hutton and Oak Grove’s Laith
Belgium-based British showjumper Sam Hutton will be making his senior championship debut with 12-year-old stallion Oak Grove’s Laith, owned by the Caramello Company and looked after by groom Lindsay Decottignies. Sam, 34, is originally from Surrey and started riding at the age of seven, forging a great career in the sport. He moved overseas, training with Jan Tops in Valkenswaard, the Netherlands, but he has been based with Abdel Said in Belgium for the past few years.
Oak Grove’s Laith, a London x Quaprice stallion who was bred by SCEA Riverland, twice qualified for the world championships as a five-year-old and a seven-year-old before Sam started riding him year ago. The duo warmed up for Milan with two Nations Cup appearances, jumping clear rounds at both, just parting company unexpectedly in Dublin, but look just the type to excel in a championship environment.
Donald Whitaker and Di Caprio
No British showjumping team would be complete without a Whitaker on board and 30-year-old Donald will also be making his championship debut as part of the British team in Milan riding Di Caprio. This pair were part of the Nations Cup-winning squad in the UAE last year and have been in flying form since.
Like Ben Maher’s Faltic HB, the Holsteiner Diarado x Cassini I stallion, bred by Harms Carsten, was produced and previously owned by the Oakingham Stud in Great Britain, jumping to great success in young horse classes – including with Irish team member Eoin Gallagher. Germany-based Donald’s girlfriend Nicola Pohl first started riding Di Caprio in 2020 before Donald took over a year later.
“He has everything to be a very good horse,” says Donald of the stallion, who is groomed by Ally Gill.
Ben Maher and Faltic HB
The reigning Olympic champion Ben Maher has proved an integral team member, helping Great Britain to team gold at the Olympics in 2012, team bronze and individual fourth at the world championships in 2022 with Faltic HB and he already has five European medals to his name, including individual silver on Explosion W in 2019. He has returned from a serious shoulder injury and heads to Milan as one of the red hot favourites with the 13-year-old Baltic VDL x Concorde stallion, who was bred in the Netherlands by HA Brinkman and previously owned by the Oakingham Stud – again produced in the hands of Ireland’s Eoin Gallagher – and now belongs to the Hertfordshire rider’s supporters Charlotte Rossetter and Pamela Wright.
“A lot of people have been a part of this horse’s career and they’ve done a good job with him,” says Ben.
Groom Derren Lake looks after Faltic HB and Ben has also nominated two mares, Dallas Vegas Batilly and Ginger-Blue, as his direct reserves for the British team at the European Showjumping Championships 2023.
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