World of Showjumping
World of ShowjumpingWorld of Showjumping

A feast of fabulous jumping in prospect at glorious Gothenburg

Tuesday, 15 August 2017
European Championships 2017

FEI preview on the European Championships in Gothenburg written by Louise Parkes

When the Dutch claimed European team and individual jumping gold in Aachen (GER) two years ago they were an unstoppable force, sweeping all before them in a tidal wave of glory. They were repeating the success they had enjoyed at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Caen (FRA) a year earlier and it was the same brilliant partnership, Jeroen Dubbeldam and Zenith, who claimed the individual title once again.

Fast-forward to 2017 and Dubbeldam is not listed in Rob Ehrens’ Dutch selection and it seems a much less predictable contest for both team and individual honours at the Longines FEI European  Championships 2017 in Gothenburg, Sweden. The French are reigning Olympic champions, the Swiss and Swedish sides look strong, the Belgians have re-energised helped by a period in Division 2 of the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping series and Italy has emerged, for the first time in a very long time, as a nation to be taken very seriously. For once Team Germany may not be the favourites for gold, but as anyone who follows this sport knows they can never be discounted. It’s going to be a fascinating week of sport when the action gets underway in the Ullevi Stadium on August 23.

It is 60 years since the first European Jumping Championship for men took place in Rotterdam (NED) in 1957, with eight riders from five nations competing and Germany’s Hans Günter Winkler and Sonnenglanz claiming the inaugural title. The first European Jumping Championship for Ladies was also staged the same year at Spa in Belgium where Great Britain’s Pat Smythe won through with Flanagan and Prince Hal. These are all names with legendary status, and many more would be added down the years such as three-time champion David Broome from Great Britain who took individual gold with Sunsalve at Aachen in 1961 and then returned to complete a back-to-back double with Mr Softee in 1967 at Rotterdam (NED) and Hickstead (GBR) in 1969.

In the history of these Championships however no horse and rider combination can match the achievement of Germany’s Paul Schockemöhle and the brilliant Deister who took silver, behind fellow-countryman Gerd Wiltfang and Roman in 1979, and then returned to win three-in-a-row gold in Munich, Hickstead and Dinard in 1981, 1983 and 1985.

The team Championship only took place for the first time in 1975 when Alwin Schockemöhle, Hartwig Steenken, Sönke Sönksen and Hendrik Snoek claimed the title for Germany ahead of Switzerland and France. Germany holds the record for most team golds with a total of seven, and also tops the individual title leaderboard with 14 victories.

The hosts had to settle for team silver on home turf two years ago however when Jur Vrieling, Gerco Schröder, Maikel van der Vleuten and Jeroen Dubbeldam posted the fourth Dutch victory in the history of the Championships. And it was another watershed moment in Jeroen Dubbeldam’s career when he became only the second Dutch rider to take individual gold, and the first jumping rider since Germany’s Hans Günter Winkler in the 1950s to claim World, Olympic and European titles.

Individual silver went to Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet who lines out once more next week, while bronze went to Frenchman Simon Delestre who does not. The French are sending three of their four Rio Olympic gold medal winning team members, Roger Yves Bost with Sangria du Coty, Penelope Leprevost with Vagabond de la Pomme and Kevin Staut with Reveur de Hurtebise HDC. Chef d’Equipe, Philippe Guerdat, will select his final team member from Mathieu Billot (Shiva D’Amaury) or Marc Dilasser (Cliffton Belesbat).

France produced the first lady champion when Alexandra Ledermann and the mighty Rochet M reigned supreme at Hickstead in 1999 and there has only been one other, Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum who topped the podium with the great Shutterfly in 2007 at Mannheim (GER).

In all, 17 teams, 13 individuals and a total of 26 countries will battle for the honours next week and the individual title race promises to be a classic. The Swiss have so much talent in 2012 Olympic and double Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping champion Steve Guerdat, Romain Duguet who was runner-up at the Longines Final in Omaha and the on-form Martin Fuchs,

Could Penelope Leprevost become only the third lady champion? Is Sweden’s Olympic silver medallist Peder Fredricson in with a huge chance now that H&M All In is recovered from his operation or will Gothenburg prove a happy hunting ground once again for fellow-countryman Henrik von Eckermann who snatched victory in the last qualifying round of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Western European League before heading to Omaha where he finished third? Can Italy’s Lorenzo De Luca continuing his fabulous winning streak or will Ireland’s Cian O’Connor or Bertram Allen prevail? Or is this gold destined for the trophy cabinet of German genius Marcus Ehning?

The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders and Jur Vrieling may have something to say about that, but only time will tell. Whatever the outcome, a feast of fabulous jumping is in prospect before a new individual champion is crowned.

This photo has been added to your cart !

Your shopping cart »
This website is using cookies for statistics, site optimization and retargeting purposes. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use this website. Read more here.