European Eventing Championships: Horse & Hound predicts who will win the medals

  • THE unique situation set up by having both the Tokyo Olympic Games and the European Eventing Championships at Avenches, Switzerland, within nine weeks has led to interesting selection decisions.

    A few horses will contest both events – notably Dutch riders Merel Blom’s The Quizmaster and Janneke Boonzaaijer’s ACSI Champ De Tailleur – who were both eliminated for errors of course on the Tokyo cross-country. But most countries are using the Europeans to give experience to up-and-coming riders or horses or both.

    Nations can send squads of six, with four making the team and two riding as individuals, and in most cases will declare that split the week of the event.

    Britain could have fielded a second team in Tokyo capable of winning gold, and one assumes the formidable trio of Piggy March (Brookfield Inocent), Ros Canter (Allstar B) and Kitty King (Vendredi Biats) will be at the forefront of Britain’s team effort here.

    It’s anybody’s guess who out of Sarah Bullimore (Corouet), Izzy Taylor (Monkeying Around) and Nicola Wilson (JL Dublin) will join them in the team, but whatever way, the British team has to be the favourite for gold, with strong individual chances, too.

    The German challenge

    Ingrid Klimke, back in action after missing Tokyo through injury, will defend her individual title for Germany on SAP Hale Bob OLD. She could make history as the first event rider to win three European titles in a row on the same horse.

    She has a strong squad around her, including Tokyo alternates Andreas Dibowski and FRH Corrida, and Michael Jung with rising star FischerWild Wave, who would have won Luhmühlen CCI5* without their 11 penalties for breaking a frangible. Should he triumph here, Michael would be the first person to win four European eventing individual golds.

    France also fields a strong squad that includes the 1993 European champion Jean-Lou Bigot (Utrillo Du Halage), Luc Château and Troubadour Camphoux (fourth at Luhmühlen CCI5*), former Pau CCI5* winners Gwendolen Fer and Romantic Love, and Maxime Livio, who won at Avenches in June on his ride, Api Du Libaire.

    Ireland could be champing at the heels of this leading trio, led by Cathal Daniels – the 2019 European individual bronze medallist on Rioghan Rua – on LEB Lias Jewel and Padraig McCarthy, who has two horses listed but is likely to ride the experienced Leonidas II.

    Will the home advantage count?

    Among the other teams, Switzerland and Sweden are ones to watch. Tokyo alternates Sara Algotsson Ostholt and Chicuelo will lead for Sweden and compatriot Malin Petersen is worth keeping an eye on, too – an experienced championship rider, she and Charly Brown 311 were 11th in Luhmühlen’s hot CCI4*-S in June.

    It’s 40 years since Switzerland won a team medal at the European Eventing Championships, but they could be dark horses if the top teams crack. Felix Vogg and Cartania – who was his originally selected Olympic ride – will be backed up by Tokyo alternates Eveline Bodenmüller (Violine De La Brasserie) and Robin Godel and Grandeur De Lully CH, who were second to Maxime at Avenches in the summer. This team has the advantage of being at home and knowing the venue, too.

    European eventing championships: H&H’s medal predictions

    European eventing championship medal predictions

    The format

    The competition is a CCI4*-L three-day event, with a cross-country course designed by Britain’s Mike Etherington-Smith. The team competition follows the traditional format with three or four riders in each team. The best three final scores count for the team, with the worst score being dropped. All the riders are also competing for individual honours.

    European Eventing Championships timetable

    • Wednesday, 22 September: first trot-up
    • Thursday, 23 September and Friday, 24 September: dressage
    • Saturday, 25 September: cross-country
    • Sunday, 26 September: final trot-up and showjumping

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