70 Horses Pass First Horse Inspection at European Championships

Tartan. Everywhere. The Longines Blair Castle FEI European Championships. Photo by Samantha Clark. Tartan. Everywhere. The Longines Blair Castle FEI European Championships. Photo by Samantha Clark.

Of the 71 horses presented at the Longines Blair Castle FEI European Championships this afternoon, only one was not accepted by the Ground Jury, and all fifteen nations will still be represented.

The Ground Jury, consisting of Sue Baxter, President, Andrew Bennie fresh from Burghley and Sandor Fulop all braved the weather and bore their legs in kilts. Commentator John Kyle was less hardy, or perhaps more shy (but I doubt it!) and showed his Scottish leaning in a very fetching pair of tartan trousers.

Perhaps it was the cold weather but I’d like to think it was the fitness of the horses which resulted in lots of naughty behaviour on the jog strip — for the most part they certainly look ready to attack these hills; looking especially fit were the home side, Team GBR and especially badly-behaved, Bay My Hero we’re looking at you, and Persimmon, Kitty King!

Team Great Britain looking fighting fit and very, very well

Also looking impressive are the Irish squad — both two legged and four legged, likewise the Italians and French. The Russians lost one of their team when Indigo Pyreneen was sent to the holding box; on being re-represented he was not jogged up by rider Igor Atrokhov who was also rather lame but the Ground Jury insisted that the original rider trot him up again, and sadly they were not accepted.

Poland’s sole representative Jacek Jeruzal was allowed to trot up out of order at the end of the Inspection instead of before Team Ireland as apparently he’s had travel problems and had only just arrived on site.

Once again, as on Sunday at Burghley, Michael Jung’s groom Julia Harsch trotted up his horse fischerTakinou and was accepted without any problem. Sweden’s Ludwig Svennerstal was sent to the holding box with the petite bay mare Franzipan but accepted upon re-inspection, and likewise Spain’s Maria Pinedo Sendagorta whose Carriem Van Colen Z looked fabulous.

Maria is competing with her sister Cristina for Spain, and brothers Luca and Pietro Roman are competing together on the Italian squad. The best dressed man also came from Italy, it was Emiliano Portale with Rubens Delle Sementarecce, and the best dressed woman was Sweden’s Louise Svensson Jahde with Viva 29 although I’m not sure how they decide as most competitors were wearing a version of their uniform.

The teams have been announced as follows:


1. Theo Van De Vendel on Zindane
2. Alice Naber Lozeman
3. Merel Blom
4. Tim Lips


1. Joseph Murphy
2. Padraig McCarthy
3. Michael Ryan
4. Austin O’Connor


1. Luca Roman
2. Giovanni Ugolotti
3. Arianna Schivo
4. Pietro Roman

Great Britain

1. Kitty King
2. Nicola Wilson
3. Pippa Funnell
4. William Fox-Pitt


1. Dirk Schrade
2. Michael Jung
3. Sandra Auffarth
4. Ingrid Klimke


1. Thibaut Vallette
2. Karim Florent Laghouag
3. Thomas Carlile
4. Matthieu Lemoine


1. Johan Lundin
2. Anna Nillson
3. Sara Algotsson Ostholt
4. Niklas Lindback


1 Albert Hermoso Farras
2. Cristina Pinedo Sendagorta
3. Maria Pinedo Sendagorta
4. Carlos Diaz Fernandez

Lucinda Green is here with her Austrian Team Coach hat on, but she has promised us a preview of the cross country again, so we’re looking forward to that.

I had a quick look at the second half of it, and yes, it is hilly, and yes, a couple of the jumps I saw would put hairs on your chest (18 & 19, 21 & 22 – Horse & Hound have posted pictures of each jump with a cool drone flyover of that water jump, and also check out the virtual course walk with designer Ian Stark of course) but surprisingly for the terrain and the fact that it’s an Ian Stark track, thanks to our friends at Equiratings, the riders can sleep a little easier perhaps these next couple of nights knowing the following:

In 2013 Blair had a completion rate of 89% with 17 of the 19 starters seeing out all three phases. There were 35 CCI3*x with ten starters or more in our two year sample and the completion rate for Blair 2013 ranks the HIGHEST.

Fluke? Hardly! In 2014 the percentage was 84%, again extremely high and ranks 3rd in the same sample of events – Bromont 2014 is sandwiched in between the two with 88%. To give these figures some context, at the bottom end of the scale are Jersey Fresh 2014 (43%), Bramham U25 2014 (41%) and Ballindenisk 2013 (36%).

The Test Ride tomorrow is at 10am GB time and will be performed by Olivia Wilmot on Zebedee De Foja, and the competition proper gets underway proper at 10:20am with the Netherlands.

Once again, many thanks for making Eventing Nation part of your European Championship Experience and we look forward to bringing you lots more from Blair over the next few days — you probably won’t see us in kilts, brrr, but I’m definitely not ruling out Scottish cashmere or whisky! Go Blair and Go Eventing!

#Blair2015: Website, Entries, Schedule, FEI TVCourse Preview, EN’s CoverageEN’s TwitterEN’s Instagram, @samanthalclark