Britain’s ‘dancing horses’ return for 2013 European Championships
British Dressage has today announced their selection for the upcoming ecco FEI Dressage European Championships* in Herning, Denmark (21-25 August), which includes all three combinations from the London 2012 Olympic gold medal winning team, alongside Michael Eilberg who makes his senior Championship team debut.
The selected team comprises:
- Charlotte Dujardin riding Carl Hester and Roly Luard’s Valegro
- Michael Eilberg riding Jon and Julie Deverill’s Half Moon Delphi
- Carl Hester riding his own and Sasha Stewart’s Uthopia
- Laura Tomlinson (nee Bechtolsheimer) riding her own and Dr Wilfried and Ursula Bechtolsheimer’s Mistral Hojris
Gareth Hughes and DV Stenkjers Nadonna (owned by Jane Brewin) is nominated as a direct reserve for Michael Eilberg and Laura Tomlinson. The selectors have also nominated Uthopia as a reserve for Charlotte, and Fine Time 13 (owned by Jenny Green) and Dances with Wolves (owned by Aram Gregory) as reserves for Carl. If required, the selectors will meet to decide the alternative rides.
The following combinations have also been entered at the Nominated Entries stage: Hannah Biggs (Weltzin); Nikki Crisp (Pasoa); Michael Eilberg (Marakov) and Daniel Watson (Fideramber).
Will Connell, Equestrian Performance Director commented; “Mouth watering! What else can I say about the prospect of the Dressage Team competition in Herning? This will be the Great Campaigner’s (Mistral Hojris) last Championship and I know that the Team are going to be focused on giving the British public another opportunity to shout and cheer for the dancing ponies. It is not going to be easy, Germany are on the ascendancy, Denmark will have Home Advantage and Sweden and the Netherlands also have some serious firepower. As always we are indebted to the owners that support the British riders. The Lottery funding will ensure that Team GBR can provide all the support the riders and horses need in Herning; let battle commence!”
Commenting on their selection;
Charlotte Dujardin: “I’m delighted to be selected to go to Denmark. It will be amazing to have Carl, Laura and I back together again and it’s exciting to have a new member in Michael. It’s been a rollercoaster year but it will be great to have a focus now and I can’t wait to compete. I’d like to say a special thanks to UK Sport, my sponsors, owners and the support team at home which make it all possible.”
Michael Eilberg: “I’m really chuffed to be selected for my first senior Championship team appearance. Ever since we got (Half Moon) Delphi it was always our feeling that she was a team horse so it’s great that the results and competitions have got us there. I’m excited about being part of this team; we’re all friends so it will be great to be a part of it together. It was Julie’s (Deverill) birthday on Tuesday when I called her to give her the news – the best present she’s ever had!”
Carl Hester: “After last year’s success at the Olympics, I hope that we can uphold our standard and bring home gold once again and I feel lucky to have three qualified horses available.”
Laura Tomlinson: “It’s always an honour to be selected to ride for your country and I’m excited the ‘dream team’ will be back together to do what we did last year and keep up our unbeaten record. I’m looking forward to competing alongside the other Team GBR riders for showjumping and para-dressage; it’s what I love about the Worlds and Olympics – being able to watch and support each other. All three teams will be under similar pressure so it will be great to share the load!”
All four riders are on the World Class Programme, which is generously supported by Lottery and Exchequer funding via UK Sport. The Programme incorporates both the Development and Performance Programmes and the Equine Pathway, and works closely with the three British Equestrian Federation Olympic Member Bodies, British Dressage, British Eventing and British Showjumping.
All riders contest the Grand Prix, with the best three scores counting towards the team result (21-22 August). The top 30 placed individuals from the Grand Prix, then contest the Grand Prix Special (24 August); the 15 best placed individuals from this round, but only three riders from any one nation, then go on to compete in the Grand Prix Freestyle (25 August). Unlike at the Olympic Games, riders compete for two individual medals – in the Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle.