There is no doubt that Vilhelmsborg was exited to welcome one of this year's most spectacular events on Danish grounds when hosting the FEI European Championships for Ponies in the three disciplines of Jumping, Dressage and Eventing. With huge support from the municipality of Aarhus, Vilhelmsborg is fully equipped to welcome the many international riders and their ponies.
Vilhelmsborg have made use of a total of 50 hectares of land, to create the three arenas for the championships. The jumping and dressage arenas were pre-established but both have been upgraded and are now ready for both the audience and participants. The eventing course is a total of 3.8 km long and built by the Swedish course designer Lars Christensson and Team Jørgensen from Kalundborg.
The dressage arena was located in the beautiful settings of the courtyard surrounded by the stables. The jumping arena was the main arena, here there were plenty of life in the shape of 30 different stands and a catering area.
The dressage team competition successfully kicked off Wednesday at the Europeans where 29 riders and ponies competed in the first part of the test, while the remaining 32 riders competed on Thursday. 15 nations participated in the team competition which the audience watched with great excitement. Nobody could beat the impressive results of Germany, Lucie-Anouk Baumgürtel and Massimiliano 3, Tabea Schroer and Danilo 80, Inga Katharina Schuster and NK Cyrill, Tabea Schroer and Danilo 80, who claimed gold with a team score of 222.666. Host nation Denmark was rewarded with silver for a score of 217.513 while Holland received bronze with 216.077.
Friday was also the day for the first part of the individual dressage test in which 36 riders and ponies competed. Once again Germany showed their great talents with four riders placed in the leading positions: Lucie-Anouk Baumgürtel and Massimiliano 3 was placed as best in class on a score of 76.244, second was Inga Katharina Schuster and NK Cyrill on 75.293, third was Tabea Schroer and Danilo 80 on 73.878 and the last German, Eileen Henglein and Cinderella M WE, were in fourth on 72.366.
On Saturday 25 riders and ponies competed in the second half of the individual championship with Danish rider Louise Christensen and Vegelins Goya the best of the day’s competitors, moving into third with a score of 72.585. However Lucie-Anouk Baumgürtel and Massimiliano held on to their overnight lead and took the gold - none of the other competitors could reach this stunning gelding and it’s talented 12-year old rider, with the audience loving their high quality performance and the way they made everything seem so easy. Finishing in silver was Germany’s Inga Katharina Schuster and her pony NK Cyrill, while Denmark’s Louise Christensen and Vegelins Goya won the bronze medal.
As it was a sunny Sunday at Vilhelmsborg the dressage freestyle test was a very successfully event and a huge audience attended the entertaining test to music. The German riders dominated the competition once again with Lucie-Anouk Baumgürtel and Massimiliano winning a third gold medal and Tabea Schroer on Danilo again winning silver. Danish Louise Christensen on Vegelins Goya again won bronze.
The Eventing riders had their first ride in the team competition when 25 riders and their ponies performed their dressage test on Thursday. The second half of the team competition was finished Friday with the remaining 25 riders. After the dressage test the Germans put themselves in a very strong position as their first three riders were placed 1st, 2nd and 4th. The British riders ranked second all performing with great intensity - they had with them a dedicated team of supporters who had dressed up in Union Jacks and were cheering on the side at every test. The Belgians placed in third after the Dressage.
Saturday saw the Eventers head out on the cross country course, with Germany’s Calvin Böckmann with Askaban B keeping his place in the lead of the competition on his dressage score of 38.3. In second position were Anna Lena Shaaf with Pearl 98, also from Germany on 41.4, and third was Great Britain’s Saffron Cresswell with Cuffesgrange Little Ric on 44.10. All three had a great round around the new and stunning cross country track, showing off high speed and well prepared ponies. The track was difficult but also highly technical, which was a huge challenge to many besides the top three riders.
In the Team competition there were eight teams competing, and after the cross country Germany held the leading position, once again showing great power and strength with their young pony riders who were performing their absolute best, France moved up into second and Great Britain in third, with Belgium moving out of their bronze position after dressage after some riders finding the cross country challenging. But much could still happen, when the riders were to hit the show jumping arena on Sunday morning.
On Sunday the eventing riders took to the large show jumping arena for the final day of the European Championships competition. Both the individual as well as team medals were given away, and also here Germany showed their strength winning both competitions. In the team Germany were clear leaders with a difference of almost 20 penalties between them and Great Britain who placed second. France took home the bronze.
In the individual competition Anna Lena Schaaff and Pearl 98 jumped a clear round to take Gold, finishing on her dressage score of 41.4 and overtaking fellow teammate Calvin Böckmann and Askaban B, who had a very unexpected and expensive stop at one of the first fences on the course, moving them down to silver on a final score of 43.3. The bronze-medal was given to the Belgian rider, Jarno Verwimp and the 6-year-old pony Edition Limitee Dew Drop who jumped a clear round, moving them up from fifth place after cross country to finish on their dressage score of 44.3. A costly fence down meant Great Britain’s Saffron Cresswell, third after cross country, moved out of the medals to finish in fifth.
A very surprised and touched Anna Lena Schaaf said after the medal ceremony: “I am very pleased and it is yet quite unbelievable. I think I won’t realize what just happened before I get back home.”
On the show jumping course 54 riders completed the first qualification of the individual and team competition Thursday, with Norway’s Sanne Sørlie putting herself and her pony Oldrock Megan into the lead after a fast clear round, with 27 rider and pony combinations cleared the course faultlessly.
On Friday’s team competition it was the Italian team who claimed gold on a score of 12, with one rider, Priscilla Pigozzi Garofalo and Poetic Justice Cassio, jumping three clear rounds. Silver was given to the team from Sweden and bronze went to Great Britain. These two teams had the same score of 20 penalties in total after both rounds resulting in a jump off. Unfortunately, Great Britain’s Jack Whitaker ended up with 4 penalties and Hallie Lunn had 8 penalties which dropped them below Sweden who had three great clear rounds with riders Elsa Johansson, Michelle Cranning Hillgren, Ingemar Hammerström and Tilda Eldh.
In Sunday’s final of individual show jumping it was Great Britain’s Jack Whitaker with the pony Elando Van De Roshoeve ending with 4 penalties who claimed the gold. Leader from first round Rowen Can De Mheen with Quaprice d’Astre had a refusal at fence 4, and received silver with 5 penalties. As third was the German Antonia Ercken with Crazy Hardbreaker SP WE who won bronze with 7 penalties after the day’s two rounds.
FEI European Pony Team Dressage Championship:
GOLD - Germany 222.666: Massimiliano 3 (Lucie-Anouk Baumgürtel) 75.051, Danilo 80 (Tabea Schroer) 74.538, NK Cyrill (Inga Katharina Schuster) 73.077, Cinderella M WE (Eileen Henglein) 71.205
SILVER – Denmark 217.513: Vegelins Goya (Louise Christensen) 73.615, Der Harlekin B (Sara Aagaard Hyrm) 72.436, Lilo L (Kristian Würtz Green) 71.462, Gambys Hanneken WE (Victoria Bonefeld Dahl) 70.231
BRONZE – Holland 216.077: Wounderful Girl (Daphne Van Peperstraten) 73.128, Elin’s Noncisdador (Zoe Kuintjes) 72.590, Charina Du Bois (Jitske Prosman) 70.487.
FEI European Pony Individual Dressage Championship:
GOLD – Germany: Massimiliano (Lucie-Anouk Baumgürtel) 76.244
SILVER - NK Cyrill (Inga Katharina Schuster) 75.293
BRONZE - Vegelins Goya (Louise Christensen) 74.073.
FEI European Pony Freestyle Championship:
GOLD – Germany: Massimiliano 3 (Lucie-Anouk Baumgürtel) 81.125
SILVER – Germany: Danilo 80 (Tabea Schroer) 77.450
BRONZE – Denmark: Vegelins Goya (Louise Christensen) 76.175.
FEI European Pony Team Jumping Championship:
GOLD – Italy 12 fault: Donja (Camilla Mainardi) 7/11/4, Manisha 2 (Alessandro Orlandi) 0/4/4, Rock Dee Jay (Sofia Manzetti) 4/0/0, Poetic Justice Cassio (Priscilla Pigozzi Garofalo 0/0/0
SILVER – Sweden 20 faults: Ballygawleys Little Ferro (Elsa Johansson) 0/12/8/0, Wischin Chin M (Michelle Cranning Hillgren) 0/0/48/0, Ocean Des AS (Ingemar Hammarström) 0/4/0/0, Miclas Aristocrat (Tilda Eldh) 8/4/4/0
BRONZE – Great Britain 20 faults: Sultan Du Bary (Allana Clutterbuck) 0/4/4/0, Elando Van De Roshoeve (Jack Whitaker) 0/4/0/4, Javas Alun (Hallie Lunn) 4/0/48/8
FEI European Pony Individual Jumping Championship:
GOLD – Great Britain: Elando Van De Roshoeve (Jack Whitaker) 4 penalties.
SILVER – Holland: Quaprice d’Astree (Rowen Van De Mheen) 5 penalties
BRONZE – Germany: Crazy Hardbreaker SP WE (Antonia Ercken) 7 penalties.
FEI European Pony Eventing Team Championship:
GOLD – Germany 135.60: Pearl 98 (Anna Lena Schaaf), Askaban B (Calvin Böckmann), Nadeem 2 (Libussa Lübbeke), Mondeo 34 (Johanna Schulze Rhier
SILVER – Great Britain 153.70: Cuffesgrange Little Ric (Saffron Cresswell), Drop the Subjekt (Anya Kolleth), Alfie (Eloise Carter), Sycamore Lad (Molly Meg Faulkner)
BRONZE – France 161.90: Podeenagh Aluinn (Melissa Prevost), Olympe des Bois (Alban Moulliere), Risketou Maneti (Camilla Lucas), Tohing Song d’Aven (Quetin Gonzales).
FEI European Pony Eventing Individual Championship:
GOLD – Germany: Pearl 98 (Anna Lena Schaaf) 41.40
SILVER – Askaban B (Calvin Böckmann) 43.40
BRONZE – Edition Limitee Dew Drop (Jarno Verwimp) 44.30.