Who: Bertram Allen (IRL), b. 1.8.1995 - current world rank 5
Why: Is an explanation really needed? Allen ended 7th at the World Championships last year, only 19 years old - he broke in to the top ten before he turned 20. Bertram already has four medals from the under-21-Europeans and back in 2013 - when he was 18 - he won a gold medal with Barnike at the World Championships for Young Horses, and repeated it the following year. These achievements for a boy under 20 deserves a medal in themselves in our opinion. With his partner for Aachen Molly Malone V, Bertram won the CSI5* Grand Prix competitions in Paris and Dinard this summer, and oh - he also ended third in the World Cup Finals in Vegas in April (when he was still 19). And then there is of course the recently won Aga Khan Trophy from Dublin. We can keep going, but we guess you kind of got it. He’s the wonder kid of showjumping.
What’s the secret weapon: This kid seriously does not feel any kind of pressure - he’s as cold as ice.
Who: Ludger Beerbaum (GER), b. 26.8.1963 - current world rank 7
Why: Because he is the maestro of showjumping. His partner Chiara recently won the five star Grand Prix in Mannheim and was double clear in the Nations Cup at the same event, not touching a rail - so she should be ready. Chiara was also on the silver winning team at the last edition of the Europeans in Herning, and jumped at the World Championships in Normandy - so she has the experienced needed. The mare has also been in Aachen every year since 2012, that should help on the prognoses for a medal. As to Ludger, well he has no less than four Olympic gold medals, five medals from the World Championships not to forget his thirteen medals from the European Championship whereas six have been gold. The record kind of speaks for itself. Ludger is in a league of his own.
What’s the secret weapon: He’s Ludger.
Who: Penelope Leprevost (FRA), b. 1.8.1978 - current world rank 12
Why: Penelope is one of the world’s leading lady riders, and has been so for years. France has relied on her on several occasions, and she already has two team silver medals from the World Championships in 2010 and 2014 as well as a team silver from the 2011 Europeans. Leprevost has had a fantastic season, highlights have been a vice-champion title in the Longines FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas and a win the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Cannes. Recently her mare for the Europeans - Flora de Mariposa - ended second in the Grand Prix at Hickstead and also jumped a double clear in the Nations Cup there.
What’s the secret weapon: Flora de Mariposa did not jump too much this summer - she was out for a little while, and it was far from certain that she would jump in Aachen. The forced break may have been a blessing disguised as a curse, as it means that the two come fresh - and in-form - to the most important event of 2015.
Who: Luciana Diniz (POR), b. 11.10.1970 - current world rank 14
Why: Luciana has been on fire this season, and so has Fit For Fun - jumping clear rounds in Grand Prix classes in Basel, Doha, Aachen, Cannes, Paris and London. Diniz also has a really good record with the chestnut mare from Aachen last year; they were clear and placed in every class the jumped - so they can do it. This will be Luciana’s fifth Europeans, the best she was placed was 10th individually. Diniz also has two Olympic Games and two World Championships behind her. She is a crowd favourite with all the emotions she puts on display (there is a lot of kissing, hugging and waving going on) - which for sure will help her on in Aachen.
What’s the secret weapon: Her family! They are always ringside in Aachen, cheering loudly from the top of the VIP seatings for their daughter. And then there is of course the fact that Luciana always comes mentally prepared - one of her mottos are "In the calmness lies the power" (yes, she does yoga).
Who: Gregory Wathelet (BEL), b. 10.9.1980 - current world rank 16
Why: Conrad de Hus should be just the right horse, and Greg just the right rider to make it in Aachen. Last year the pair was double clear in the Nations Cup there and brought the victory home to Belgium, and the stallion also has one more year of experience coming back as a ten year old - including jumping at the World Championships last year. The two were clear in the first round of the Rolex Grand Prix in Aachen this year, and also won the Grand Prix in the huge grass ring in Chantilly. Seems like they kind of like this environment. As to Greg; he has competed at three Europeans, two World Championships and once at the Olympic Games. The closest he came to a medal was with the Ukrainian team in - you guessed it - Aachen, back at the WEG in 2006 when they ended fourth. Now, nine years later, he comes back with Belgium for another championship in this prestigious ring and we think Greg must have a medal coming his way.
What’s the secret weapon: Nothing faces Greg. He can even jump a clear round in a Grand Prix without a bridle - which kind of earned him the reputation as the Superman of Showjumping.
Who: Gerco Schröder (NED), b. 28.7.1978 - current world rank 33
Why: Gerco is a man for the medals. This will be his fourth Europeans, and he has also represented Netherlands at three Olympic Games and two World Championships. The Dutch rider has two team gold medals from the latter, and double silver from the 2012 Games in London and one team gold from the Europeans back in 2007 - so his record it pretty impressive. It’s his partner Glock’s Cognac Champblanc’s first championship though, but he jumped to individual 12th at the World Cup Finals this year and has done some great things during the summer season including jumping double clear in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup in Rotterdam.
What’s the secret weapon: If we were going to be really dry we would say it must be a Glock.
Who: Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER), b. 26.12.1969 - current world rank 58
Why: Meredith has found another horse that has it all in the now 10 year old Fibonacci, who looks set for the same greatness as her former medal winners Shutterfly and Checkmate. This year the two jumped a double clear round in the Nations Cups in Falsterbo, and they also have a good result record when it comes to clean rounds in the biggest classes with a win and a second from CSI5* Grand Prix competitions in Wellington during the WEF-season, as well as more recent placings from the five star Grand Prix competitions in Falsterbo and Mannheim. And everybody remembers the flying Fibonacci in Aachen last year. Meredith has been European Champion before; individually in 2007 with Shutterfly, and with the German team in 1999 with Stella - not to forget her team gold from the 2010 World Championships on Checkmate.
What’s the secret weapon: Fibonacci. Pegasus. Spot the similarities?
Who: Doulas Lindelöw (SWE), b. 10.12.1990 - current world rank 66
Why: There is always an outsider that storms in and makes it at big occasions such as this, and we think that this time around this might just be Douglas Lindelöw. He has ridden at three under-21-championships, but this one will be his first as a senior - but he comes with a good experience from this year’s World Cup Final where he ended 8th with Casello. Together the two have been on fire this outdoor season; they won the CSI5* Grand Prix in Sopot, were 6th in the small CSI5* Grand Prix in Rome and were also double clear in the CSIO5* Grand Prix in Rotterdam.
What’s the secret weapon: Young, talented, ambitious, hard working and with both feet on the ground - Douglas has it all.
Who: Joe Clee (GBR), b. 2.1.1978 - current world rank 80
Why: Clee has been one of Britain’s most solid team performers the last two years. With Utamaro d’Ecaussines, Clee has delivered two double clear rounds in the 2015 Nations Cups in La Baule and Rotterdam for his country - and he was also one of their safest cards last year. Clee and the now 11 year old stallion was also a part of the British team at the World Championships last year, and learned a valuable lesson - “The only regret I have in regards to last year is that Utamaro did too many Nations Cups before the World Equestrian Games, he was a bit empty by the time he got there. But, we had to qualify to stay in Europe Division 1 and I wanted to go to Normandy – and with so many injuries on the British team I had the feeling I had to keep going. By the time we got there we were a bit at the end,” Clee said to WoSJ earlier this year. This time around the preparations look very different and we have a feeling they might have done it just right.
What’s the secret weapon: Joe’s childhood dream was being as good as John Whitaker (which is why you will see that this haircut is no coincidence…), and the dream is still very much alive. The Europeans should be the perfect motivation to slowly catch up with his idol, who has gold, silver and bronze medals from these championships.
Who: Jeroen Dubbeldam (NED), b. 15.4.1973 - current world rank 91
Why: Jeroen was crowned Olympic Champion is 2000 in Sydney, team World Champion in 2006 in Aachen and last year he was double World Champion in Normandy - he is simply a championship rider and that is what matters to him. You will maybe not see him chasing the world for ranking points or winning five star Grand Prix classes throughout the year, but this man knows exactly how to be ready for the big stuff. "I am a championship rider, and that is what I like the most. To be successful at any kind of championship is what matters for me,” Dubbeldam said to WoSJ back in 2014. We’re fans.
What’s the secret weapon: Jeroen is the master of getting it just right when it is deadly necessary.
Let's keep it short; Germany, France and the Netherlands (and maybe Ireland).
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