The banner event on Europe’s FEI eventing calendar this week is Poland’s Baborówko Equestrian Festival, headlined by a CCIO4*-L qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The event takes place Thursday, May 23, through Sunday, May 26.
Three teams from the C group (Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia) will compete for Olympic qualification: Poland, Russia and Belarus. Each country competing for the qualification can enter a team of four horse and rider pairs into the class, with the results of the three best pairs to count for the final ranking.
The home team has declared a long list of six horse-rider combinations to represent Poland: Jan Kamiński with Jard, Mateusz Kiempa with Grand Supreme, Mariusz Kleniuk with Winona, Joanna Pawlak with Fantastic Frieda, Paweł Spisak with Banderas, and Paweł Warszawski with Aristo A-Z. The squad is led by team trainer Marcin Konarski. The organizers invite spectators to support the Polish national team on Sunday by wearing white and red and bringing Polish flags.
While the team competition promises to be hot, all eyes will be on the power couple that is Michael Jung and Julie Krajewski’s hugely successful former ride fischerChipmunk FRH. The pair finished 2nd at their first CCI4*-S outing at Marbach earlier this month, adding four cross country time faults and a rail to their dressage score of 21.7 in dressage.
In addition to the CCIO4*-L, Baborówko offers a CCI4*-S, CCI3*-S, CCI2*-S, CCIYH2*-S and one national L class. The CCI4*-S entry list is plenty star-studded. Ones to watch:
- Tim Price (NZL), who brings forth his accomplished five-star and 2014 WEG partner Wesko — the pair won Luhmühlen in 2014, and were 2nd at Kentucky and 3rd at Pau in 2015. The event will also be his first international eventing outing with Clara M, previously campaigned by Jonty Evans.
- Michael Jung (GER) will be bringing the heat with his two entries. Corazon had a top 10 finish in the Wiesbaden ERM leg last year, was 2nd in the Strzegom CCI4*-L* in October, and most recently finished 7th in the Marbach CCI4*-S earlier this month. Highlighter is the less experienced, with Baborówko marking his second outing at the level.
- Andreas Dibowski (GER) is bringing out his big guns in his longtime mount FRH Butts Avedon, with whom he has completed six five-stars — this pair is more than capable of winning any four-star in the land. FRH Corrida was Andreas’ 2018 WEG mount and is fresh off a win at the Marbach CCI4*-S earlier this month.
The international class athletes will compete for the event record-breaking prize pool of 465 000 PLN. Dressage kicks off tomorrow, with cross country to follow on Saturday and show jumping on Sunday. We encourage our international readers to go support the event, which sounds like a family-friendly experience for spectators that includes demonstrations, canine competitions, a trade fair and attractions for kids.