Entire team out of European Championships after blood elimination

Luxembourg has been eliminated from the dressage team competition at the European Championships in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, after blood was spotted in the mouth of their first horse to compete.

Nicolas Wagner and the 10-year-old gelding Quater Back Junior had a rocky start to their test when the Quaterback gelding reared up slightly and spun round in his first piaffe. Nicolas did a good job to quietly contain the chestnut, but as they picked up the passage after the walk section the French judge at C Isabelle Judet rang the bell to stop the test after spotting blood in the horse’s mouth.

Nicolas Wagner (LUX) riding Quater Back Junior during the European Championships

As Luxembourg are a team of three, Nicolas’ elimination renders the whole team out of the competition. The remaining two combinations, Sascha Schulz and Dragao and Fie Christine Skarsoe with So Dark will however ride today (Tuesday, 20 August), and the grand prix also serves as an individual qualifier for the grand prix special on Thursday (22 August).

“It is such a pity — we are the smallest federation in the world and we were lucky to have even three riders here,” the Luxembourg chef d’equipe Christof Umbach told H&H.

“In the second extended trot the camera was flying overhead and the horse was spooking, then he saw the shadow in the piaffe and he got so tense and bit his tongue.”

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Nicolas was not the only elimination during the first day of competition — the French rider Charlotte Chalvignac is also out after her 15-year-old gelding Lights Of Londonderry was deemed unsound after his second extended trot.

“Today we had bad luck… What happened between relaxation and the track [test]? A knock? A wrong move? I do not know,” said Charlotte, for whom this is a first European Championship. “What I know is that Lights was perfect before going on the track. If I had any doubt, or if the staff had the slightest doubt we would not have started.”

France can continue to compete in the team competition, albeit without a discard score. Their first rider Arnaud Serre put 69.43% on the board with Ultrablue De Massa, and Stephanie Brieussel (Amorak) added 78.76%. Morgan Barbançon (Sir Donnerhall II OLD) rides today (Tuesday, 20 August).

Don’t miss our extensive preview of the European Dressage, Para Dressage and Showjumping Championships, with rider profiles, medal predictions and detailed analysis, in this week’s issue of H&H (dated 15 August).