Top Dutch dressage rider Anky van Grunsven will be swapping a top hat for a Stetson today (Friday 14 August) as she takes part in the FEI European Reining Championships.
The three-time Olympic gold medallist and dual world dressage champion is a familiar face at Aachen, but this year she’s a member of the Dutch reining team.
Anky joins Jurgen Pouls, Olivier van den Berg and Rieky Young representing Holland.
Anky took up reining in 2000 but has been riding in western competitions since 2009.
“After so many achievements, I was looking for new challenges. I found them in reining,” Anky told H&H when she took up the sport.
In 2010 she went to the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky as a reiner. She had previously been named a reserve on the team, but after Jurgen Pouls had to withdraw due to an injury to his horse, she received the call-up.
She didn’t reach the individual final, but is hoping to go better this time, and is a regular on the podium at Aachen.
Representing Great Britain in the competition will be Francesca Sternberg, Doug Allen, Shane Borland and Josh Collins.
Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher’s daughter Gina opens the reining competition. Gina will enter the arena as the official “guinea pig rider” before the decisive team competition starts.
She will ride the manoeuvres, which then have to be performed by the European Championships competitors.
Her ride will be commentated and explained to the spectators.
The Formula 1 driver’s daughter is following in her father’s footsteps as a champion in sport, as she took home two gold medals from the FEI European reining championships for juniors and young riders earlier this year.
The 17-year-old took the individual junior gold was also part of the German gold medal-winning team at the event, which took place in Givrins in Switzerland (2-3 July) at Gina’s mother, Corinna Schumacher’s, ranch.