High jinks from gold medal contender at European Championships trot-up

All dressage horses have passed the vet inspection at the Longines European Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The four British horses, Mount St John Freestyle (Charlotte Dujardin, pictured below), Hawtins Delicato (Carl Hester), Classic Briolinca (Gareth Hughes) and Dark Legend (Lottie Fry), flew through the trot-up, and look to be in great shape ahead of the start of competition tomorrow.

Bella Rose (pictured above), the reigning world champion and ride of defending European champion Isabell Werth, displayed some excitable antics during the trot-up, but the 14-year-old Belissimo M mare was passed along with the rest of the German team horses. Isabell and teammates Sönke Rothenberger, Dorothee Schneider and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl will attempt to defend their European title and win a fourth consecutive championship team gold for Germany.

Three horses were sent to the holding box but passed when re-presented. These were Ultrablue De Massa, the ride of France’s Arnaud Serre; Alcaide, the ride of Spain’s Claudio Castilla Ruiz; and Dragao, the ride of Luxembourg’s Sascha Schulz.

Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Freestyle

Competition gets underway with the first section of the grand prix tomorrow (Monday 19 August). Senior championship debutante Lottie Fry will be the first rider in action for Britain — she and the 11-year-old Zucchero gelding Dark Legend will perform their test at 11.40am (10.40 UK time). Gareth Hughes will go next, riding the 13-year-old Trento B mare Classic Briolinca at 3.50pm (2.50pm UK time).

Carl and Charlotte will ride in the second section of the grand prix on Tuesday 20 August. Carl and the 11-year-old Diamond Hit gelding Hawtins Delicato are on at 11am (10am UK time), with Charlotte riding last for Britain at 2.50pm (1.50pm UK time) with the 10-year-old Fidermark mare Mount St John Freestyle.

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In total, 69 athletes from 24 nations will compete at the European Dressage Championships, with teams from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Britain, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Three coveted team places at the Tokyo Olympics are up for grabs, with Ireland among the teams attempting to qualify. Germany, Netherlands, Britain, Sweden and Spain qualified at the World Equestrian Games in 2020.

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).