European Championships: All Pass in Rather Jolly First Horse Inspection

Kris Vervaecke (BEL) and Guantanamo van Alsingen. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

After the late withdrawals of four combinations – Austria’s Daniel Dunst and Loriot F, Belgium’s Joris Vanspringel and Imperial van de Holtakkers, the Netherlands’ Raf Kooremans and Henri Z, and Poland’s Mateusz Kiempa and Grand Supreme, a diminished field of 73 presented to the assembled ground jury of Martin Plewa (GER), Anne-Mette Binder (DEN), and Peter Shaw (AUS) at the commencement of the Longines FEI European Championships this afternoon. The great news? All of them passed, with no holds or hitches. The even better news? We’ve seldom seen such a badly behaved trot-up, with nearly every horse throwing some serious shapes as they moshed their way down the strip.

With the trot-up fear shelved, your intrepid reporter has been able to focus solely on the important things – namely, creative quarter marks, excellent outfit choices, and, well, pretty ponies.

Several countries showed off the former, including Ireland…

Sarah Ennis’ Horseware Woodcourt Garrison (IRE) sports a shamrock. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

The Netherlands…

Image of Roses (NED) shows off his patriotic quarter marks. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

And Sweden…

Niklas Lundbäck shows off some Swedish pride on Focus Filiocus’ backside. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

But while the quarter marks were good, some of the outfits were better. Team Austria is the lucky recipient of the Golden Chinch award for the best sartorial choices, with all three members sporting traditional garms to strut their stuff. What can we say? We love a dirndl here at EN.

And the prettiest horse of them all? Well, that has to go to Laura Collett‘s London 52, a horse who was born to be a cover star. Isn’t he perfect?

London 52. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

We’ve got two new additions to the line-up: Hugo Laschet and Ichak de Monfirak will join the Belgian effort, while Felix Vogg of Switzerland has swapped the super-experienced Colero S for his reserve ride, Archie Rocks. Poland, now down to two riders, will no longer be in the hunt for a team medal – but with their Tokyo qualification in the bag, they won’t be too worried.

Dressage commences tomorrow morning at 10.00 a.m. local time – stay tuned for our draw report, which will detail the tests you need to pay attention to, with analysis of both the nation and team draws.

Until then – enjoy this jam-packed gallery. We’re off to the opening ceremony, with an essential stop at the beer tent. Prost!

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