The excitement is building ahead of the JYSK FEI European Para-Dressage Championships at Herning in Denmark, where horses were presented at this afternoon’s first veterinary inspection. Just one horse was held over for re-inspection tomorrow - the bay mare Bo VB, competed by Vladimir Vinchon for France. A total of 60 competitors from 19 nations will battle it out for the medals over the coming days, with the team action kicking off at 10.00 tomorrow (Wednesday). The British continue to be the ones to beat in this sport that has enjoyed increased popularity and visibility in recent years, and particularly in the aftermath of last summer’s Paralympic Games on their home turf in London. Today the British line-up was confirmed, with the hugely experienced Anne Dunham joined by triple Paralympic gold medallist Sophie Christensen, Natasha Baker and Sophie Wells. Ricky Balshaw will compete individually. Baker is unbeaten in Grade II for the last two years and is making her team debut.
Under Their Belt
At the FEI European Para-Dressage Championships 2011 in Moorsele (BEL), the British already had the team and three individual titles under their belt before adding four more on the final afternoon. The question this time around is whether the other countries that put pressure on them at the Paralympic Games in London last summer will continue to gain ground. Germany, Dutch and Danish riders upped their game while the Irish pulled a major surprise taking home team bronze at their first Paralympics.
Horse inspections for all three disciplines taking place in Herning are conducted in exactly the same way, with passports handed over to officials who then check each animal’s micro-chip before the horse is walked and then trotted before the Ground Jury.
Stinna Tange Kaastrup, who secured Freestyle Grade Ib gold and Individual Grade Ib silver in Moorsele, carries the high hopes of Danish supporters as the JYSK FEI European Para-Dressage Championships get underway.
Facts and Figures:
- This is the first time for Para-Dressage to take place alongside other disciplines at the FEI European Championships.
- Competitors from 19 nations will participate.
- 11 countries have entered teams: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway and Russia.
- 7 nations will be represented by individual riders: Belarus, Finland, Israel, Latvia, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia.
- Great Britain topped the medal table with eight golds at the last FEI Para-Dressage Championships staged in Moorsele, Belgium in 2011.
For further information on the ECCO FEI European Championships 2013: http://european-herning.dk/GB.aspx