One horse was eliminated at this afternoon’s first horse inspection of the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle, Scotland.
Russia’s Igor Atrokhov had to take his 15-year-old bay stallion Indigo Pyreneen to the holding box after presenting him to the ground jury of Sue Baxter (Britain), Andrew Bennie (New Zealand) and Sándor Fülöp (Hungary). He re-presented him, but the horse was eliminated.
Two other horses were sent to the holding box, but passed when they returned to the runway. They were Franzipan, the ride of British-based Swedish rider Ludwig Svennerstal, and Carriem Van Colen Z, ridden by Maria Pinedo Sendagorta of Spain.
The British horses all sailed through without a problem, after this morning’s late substitution of Sarah Bullimore (Lilly Corinne) for Dani Evans (Smart Time).
There were some high jinks from William Fox-Pitt’s Bay My Hero, who is renowned for becoming excited at trot-ups.
Kitty King’s Persimmon also showed the ground jury some piaffe rather than halting.
The British team will consist of William Fox-Pitt (Bay My Hero), Nicola Wilson (One Two Many), Pippa Funnell (Sandman 7) and Kitty King (Persimmon). The other eight riders will compete as individuals. This is the first time Kitty has ridden on a British team, although she competed as an individual at the 2005 European Championships at Blenheim on Five Boys.
Germany’s defending champion Michael Jung is walking with a limp after coming down with first ride FischerRocana FST at the Lion Bridge at Burghley last week. His horse, FischerTakinou, was trotted up by his groom.
Other horses who became excited at the horse inspection included Carlos Díaz Fernandez’s Junco CP, who will be on the Spanish team.
Polish rider Jacek Jeruzal (Flandia 2) came forward out of order, at the end of the inspection, because he had only just arrived after a difficult journey.
In all 71 horses were presented, but four riders trotted up a reserve as well as their first choice mount, so there will be 66 starters. Fifteen nations are represented at Blair, with 11 fielding teams. Teams will come forward from the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Great Britain, Switzerland, Germany, Russia, France, Sweden, Spain and Belgium. Russia and Belgium have only three riders each, so all their scores will count. The other nations all have full teams of four.
The other four nations have one or two individual riders only. They are Denmark, Poland, Austria and Finland. German 2011 individual European bronze medallist Frank Ostholt is the Finnish team trainer here, as well as supporting his Swedish wife Sarah Algotsson Ostholt.
Full report from the European Championships at Blair in H&H next week, out Thursday, 17 September — 19 pages of analysis and photographs, plus columns from Harry Meade and Mike Etherington-Smith.