The FEI Open European Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand are back on the FEI calendar for the first time since 1981. Outdoor Brabant, formally known as Breda Hippique, is proud to host the seventh edition of these Championships, which will be held on the traditional show grounds of the Prinsenhoeve Estate in Breda, The Netherlands, from 1 to 4 September 2011.
Breda has hosted the only national team competition (CAIO) for Four-in-Hand in The Netherlands for many years. In 1995, Breda hosted the first ever European Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand ponies as well as the FEI World Para Equestrian Driving Championships in 2010.
The FEI European Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand were first organised in 1971 in Budapest (HUN) and were held every two years until 1981 at which stage they were discontinued.
The titleholder is Gyorgy Bardos from Hungary, the individual winner of the last 1981 Championships which took place in Zug, Switzerland.
This year’s edition is open to European and non-European drivers. The competition counts as a qualifier for the indoor FEI World Cup™ Driving, which is held during the winter season. Only competitors from Europe can claim the individual and team medals.
Thirty-seven four-in-hand drivers from 12 nations have convened for the event. Nine teams will be measuring their merit in the nations competition.
No less than five World Champions will compete against each other in Breda. Current FEI World Champion and FEI World Cup™ Driving Champion Boyd Exell from Australia is one of the three competitors who will not be able to claim a European medal, but knowing Boyd he will do everything to challenge his European colleagues and to become the winner of this wonderful event. Boyd can expect strong competition from four-time World Champion IJsbrand Chardon (NED), four-in-hand and pair World Champions Zoltan Lazar (HUN) and Werner Ulrich (SUI) as well as double World Champion Tomas Eriksson (SWE).
The FEI Open European Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand will be decided in the usual three phases of the Driving competition; the driven dressage, the spectacular marathon with eight beautiful obstacles and the exciting decisive obstacle driving competition.
For more information on the FEI Open European Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand 2011, please visit the event’s official website www.outdoorbrabant.nl
Photo caption: Györgyi Bardos of Hungary, pictured right, is the individual FEI European Driving Four-in-Hand Championship title holder. He won the last edition of the event held in 1981.