Medals on Their Minds: Chef d’Equipes Weigh in on European Championship Team Selection

Chris Bartle and Major Richard Waygood MBE. Photo by Thomas Ix. Chris Bartle and Major Richard Waygood MBE. Photo by Thomas Ix.

The philosophy behind team selection is fascinating. Whom do you name to the squad, and why, and how do those individuals meld into a singular team unit?

For perspective, there’s value in looking to the leaders of other successful eventing teams in our sport. Here, the Chef d’Equipes of three nations currently dominating our sport at the championship level …

  • Germany, the second winningest nation in European Championships history
  • Great Britain, the reigning European and World champions
  • France, the reigning Olympic team gold medalist

… share their team selection philosophies For the 2019 Longines FEI Eventing European Championships underway this week in Luhmühlen. Sweden and Italy, both of whom have been heavily targeting the Nations Cup series as a path to Olympic qualification this year, also weigh in.

In case you missed it, here are links to Tilly Berendt’s very informative analyses of the teams who will be contesting Championships: AustriaBelgium, DenmarkFinlandFranceGermany, Great Britain, Hungary, IrelandItaly, PolandSpainSweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands.

The Nations Cup podium at Houghton International 2019: Germany take the win, USA finish in second place, and Ireland scoop third. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Germany: Prof. Dr. Jens Adolphsen

“I think we made the most of our opportunity to nominate some young riders as well as the established ones. Our experienced riders are doing such a terrific job that it was hard for the next generation to gain championship experience. That’s why it’s brilliant to be able to involve so many young talented riders now. From my point of view, in a good team the individual results add up to an excellent one. The atmosphere within the team membership plays an important, inspiring role too. We have tried to nominate in such a way that winning the Championship is possible.”

Chris Bartle and Major Richard Waygood MBE. Photo by Thomas Ix.

Great Britain: Major Richard Waygood MBE

“We are very excited about our squad for the Championships. This year we have a range of experienced and not so experienced horses who all have great potential to excel at this Championships and future Championships. Our riders who partner these horses all have Championships credentials and understand about working in a Team environment as ‘One Team.’ Each rider and member of staff are there to support each other through thick and thin. Our aspirations are of course to win Team Gold and all the individual medals. There is no point in coming otherwise.”

Team gold goes to France at 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. From left: Karim Florent Laghouag, Mathieu Lemoine, Astier Nicolas and Thibaut Vallette. Photo by Jenni Autry.

France: Thierry Touzaint

“The French eventing team is getting ready for the championship. As always, we organized a final training that takes place in Normandy. They can ride on the beach every day and let their horses walk in the sea water. To me this time we spend gathered together is very important for both horses and riders. I think that we have a good team, some horses are quite young but the riders are very experienced. We will do our best to bring home a team medal. I don’t know its color yet, but I definitely think that we can get one with this team.”

Fredrik Bergendorff. Photo by Thomas Ix.

Sweden: Fredrik Bergendorff

“The Swedish team is put together with experience and consistent results in mind. Our number 1 goal is to get Olympic qualification, having said that if we perform to the level we can it would be great to bring back a medal. We have championship experience in our team mixed in with two riders who get the chance to ride in a senior championship for the first time. I think it’s a good mix of getting the result we like and still developing for the future. We are all looking forward to a week of good sport.”

2018 Strzegom Nations Cup Top Three: France, Italy and Poland. Photo by Leszek Wójcik/LOTTO Strzegom Horse Trials.

Italy: Giacomo Della Chiesa

“The European Championships are always beautiful competitions – because we have sport on the highest level with brilliant horses and riders taking part. This year is very important for us because of the chance qualify our team for Tokyo 2020. I think it’s a great team because we have some experienced riders who have already done World Championships and Olympic Games and some younger riders, who are very competitive. Two of them are based in Great Britain, one is based in France, one in Belgium, and the rest are based in Italy. We competed in all the Nations Cups 2019 and the horses look really fit. We will all try our best!”

Visit the Luhmühlen website here. Go Eventing.

[Luhmühlen: Medals in View]

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