Looking ahead to the Europeans

  • Most countries have now confirmed definite combinations for the European Show Jumping Championships at Aachen (21-1 July)

    Defending champion Germany chose Ludger Beerbaum (Gladdys S) andLars Nieberg (Loro Piana Esprit FRH) before Aachen, but she has lost Marcus Ehning, as For Pleasure has not recovered from the injury he sustained during the Nations Cup.

    The rest of the team is likely to be Soeren van Ronne (Chandra 3) and Otto Becker (Dobel’s Cento), with Franke Sloothaak reserve on Joli Coeur.

    Ludger Beerbaum won the Arnhem grand prix last year as part of a carefully conceived build-up. Should anything happen to Gladdys S in the interim, he has his Olympic partner Goldfever or Champion Du Lys available and, with the world’s number one in the saddle, it does not currently seem to matter what horse he rides.

    Belgium will field Philippe Lejeune (Nabab De Reve), Marc van Dijck (Verelst Goliath), Jos Lansink (Caridor Z), Ludo Philippaerts (Otterongo) and Stanny van Paesschen (O De Pomme). The individual European Champion, France’s Alexandra Ledermann, will not defend her title. She rode at Aachen in great pain from a torn muscle in her left thigh following a fall in the Cannes grand prix the previous weekend.

    French “definites” are Thierry Pomel (Thor Des Chaines), Hubert Bourdy (Helios) and Edouard Couperie (Pro Pilot).

    Only Jerry Smit has been confirmed as an Italian team member, while another probable, Gianni Govoni, with his much-improved Las Vegas, was not in Aachen.

    Switzerland has been weakened by the news that Willi Melliger’s top horse, Calvaro V, has a knee injury which has put him out of action for at least the rest of the season.Markus Fuchs (Tinka’s Boy and Cosima) will front the Swiss challenge, Beat Mandli’s Pozitano has not been at his best, but is likely to be included, Willi Melliger will start Anaconda and Urs Fah on the nine-year-old Garry is the probable fourth member.The Swedes, who finished fourth in St Gallen, will be led by the talented Malin Baryard (H&M Butterfly Flip). Holland will be represented by Olympic Champion Jeroen Dubbledam (De Sjiem), Jan Tops (Roofs) and Angelique Horn (Hascal), with the remaining team member still to be decided.Ireland’s selectors have already made up their minds. Their team will be Peter Charles with whatever horse he chooses, Dermott Lennon (Liscalgot), Kevin Babington (Carling King) and Jessica Kurten (Paavo N).However, anything can happen. On current form, the Germans will start favourites, but Arnhem’s arena is on sand and Frank Rothenberger’s courses will be more technical than those in Aachen.

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