5 reasons to be excited about next week’s European Eventing Championships

The Longines FEI European Eventing Championships are next week (28 August-1 September), in Luhmühlen, Germany and we can’t wait.

Here are five reasons to be excited about the championships…

1. The Brits have a great chance of bringing home some medals. Team GBR head to Luhmühlen as the reigning world and European team champions and will be aiming to pick up gold again.

The squad consists of six classy combinations in Piggy French (Quarrycrest Echo), Tom McEwen (Toledo De Kerser), Oliver Townend (Cooley Master Class), Tina Cook (Billy The Red), Laura Collett (London 52) and Kitty King (Vendredi Biats).

2. But they definitely won’t have it all their own way. There are plenty of riders and teams who can push the Brits and the fight for podium places will be intense.

The home side, Germany, will want to regain the European team gold they lost in 2017, with their challenge likely to be spearheaded by Ingrid Klimke and SAP Hale Bob OLD — who also defend their individual European title — and Michael Jung on FischerChipmunk FRH.

As the hosts, Germany field 12 combinations in total, so this is a good chance to check out the younger horses and riders who are likely to make German teams in future.

3. And there are also Tokyo tickets on offer. For the nations who haven’t yet qualified for next year’s Olympics, a place at the Games is a prize which means just as much as a medal would for the leading countries.

There are two qualification places available at the Europeans and Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy are likely to head up the battle.

4. Ireland should be in the mix. Their world team silver — and the fact they already have their Olympic qualification — will mean they go into next week with confidence high. Some of the horses they bring forward are a little less experienced than those at last year’s World Equestrian Games (WEG), but don’t rule them out.

The Emerald Isle is represented by Cathal Daniels (Rioghan Rua), Sarah Ennis (Horseware Woodcourt Garrison), Ciaran Glynn (November Night), Tony Kennedy (Westeria Lane) and Sam Watson (Tullabeg Flamenco).

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5. There are 17 countries competing, with 75 combinations lining up, so there will be plenty of action to follow over two days of dressage and a weekend of cross-country and showjumping. Watch out for…

Belgium’s Karin Donckers, who always puts in a good dressage test and brings forward the experienced Fletcha Van’t Verahof.

Dutchman Tim Lips and Bayro, who are also likely to be competitive after the first phase. Tim missed last year’s WEG because it clashed with the birth of his first child, so he’ll be keen to rejoin the championship fray.

Louise Romeike, the daughter-in-law of 2008 Olympic champion Hinrich. She has stepped up her game this year, with a strong first Badminton performance on Wieloch’s Utah Sun. She rides Waikiki 207 here and is likely to head up the Swedish challenge, alongside British-based Ludwig Svennerstal (El Kazir SP).

Pick up a copy of this week’s H&H magazine (dated 22 August) for our full European Eventing Championships preview. Follow the action all week at horseandhound.co.uk