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Nature comes into play on the first day of the European Championships

Wednesday, 23 August 2017
European Championships 2017

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson. Who knew shadows and sun could cause so much trouble? Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

The first qualifier at the Longines FEI European Championships kicked off in Gothenburg at 8.45 Wednesday morning. The Scandinavian weather showed itself from its very best side and the sun was out, shining down on Ullevi Stadium and Louis Konickx’s course. At a first look, the track did not seem all that tricky – but as the class started it soon became clear that this morning was going to be anything but ordinary. The first group of riders kept delivering uncharacteristic rounds, and it did not end there. The track caused a lot of head ache, and again and again it was the combination at 12ab – that cast long shadows in front of the jump – that was the main reason for mistakes.   

Ludger Beerbaum, who is present in Gothenburg to support his stable jockey Philipp Weishaupt, commented: "It was the sun that created the problems. The shadows were confusing for the horses in the beginning of the class." 

Team Germany's trainer Heinrich-Hermann Engemann was of the same opinion: "I think that as the first course of a European Championship, this course was absolutely ok. The height of the fences was fair, and the course walked well. The first group of riders was affected by the shadows; there is no other reason. For the other groups the sun changed and we saw different kind of rounds."

The renowned Dutch trainer Henk Nooren thought the course itself was nice: "I liked the course! But it was the sun that played a huge role this morning. Sometimes even at home, if you ride very early in the morning, the horses spook more than they normally would when the light is strange. It is easy for me to say this from the side line, when I am not the organizer trying to balance all the disciplines and timetables, but I do think the starting time this morning is something they should have put more thought into." 


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