The names are in and the field is set for a thrilling competition at the upcoming FEI Endurance European Championship 2023 set for September 7 at the Dutch National Equestrian Centre in Ermelo (NED).
The 160-km course consists of six loops of beautiful countryside that includes forest tracks and heather-covered moors, with a mandatory veterinary inspection after each loop, where the horses must be declared fit to continue before heading out onto the next loop of the course. The tracks have been carefully prepared to offer a balance of technical challenges, all the while keeping the safety of the horses as a priority.
“In essence, our aim is to provide an unforgettable experience that encapsulates the spirit of Endurance while prioritising the well-being of our beloved horses,” said Eric Lamsma, President of the organising committee. “We are excited about the journey ahead and can't wait to witness the enthusiasm and camaraderie that will unfold during the FEI Endurance European Championship 2023 in Ermelo.”
Horse and athlete combinations include individual champions from multiple countries, who competed at the FEI Endurance World Championships 2022 in Butheeb (UAE), and the FEI Endurance European Championships 2021, which were also held at the Ermelo facility. Spain and France had the top seven individual finishers in 2021, earning team gold and silver respectively, and both countries are returning multiple athletes from those teams. Italy secured the team bronze medal ahead of Belgium and the Netherlands, and all these teams are looking to either repeat or improve on their past standings.
Ones to watch
Jaume Punti Dachs of Spain riding Echo Falls was fifth individually in 2021 and earned the bronze medal at the FEI Endurance World Championships 2022 in Butheeb, while Angel Soy Coll and Maria Alvarez Ponton, the individual gold and bronze medal riders respectively at the FEI European Endurance Championships 2021 are on the team again, with competitive horses.
France will have three of their combinations from Butheeb and their 2021 silver medal team at the Championships, including Virginie Atger on Raya de Jalima, Vincent Gaudriot on Bum Baya D’Aqui, and Clementine Chaud on Winaruz el Djin. France’s goal in Butheeb was a team medal, where their strategic and tactical riding paid off, and we expect to see more of that in Ermelo this year.
Then there’s Tiina Kuusepuu of Estonia on Gabyrel, a 13-year-old Polish Arabian gelding. The pair were fourth at the Butheeb World Championships, and along with her teammates, are looking to put Estonia Endurance on the map.
There are 21 countries represented, including 14 in the team competition: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey. In total, 77 athletes and 83 horses are vying for the Championship title.
Individual entries include Tom MacGuinness of Ireland who has two horses qualified, including his mount Horseware HLM Fontana, who was 17th with him at Butheeb. Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Norway, and Turkey all have individual entries
“Our opening ceremony, scheduled for Tuesday, September 5th, at 7 pm, promises to be a big event, with all the athletes of the Championship making an appearance. In alignment with our ethos of ‘Horse Comes First’, we're excited to present captivating shows featuring acts such as Jesse Drent and the talented Vaulting team De Heerevelden. These performances will undoubtedly underscore the deep bond between humans and horses,” said Imke Lamsma, Media Manager of the organising committee.
Mandatory pre-ride veterinary inspections of all horses are occurring the afternoon of September 6 and the FEI Endurance European Championship 2023 begins at 6:30 am on September 7. The Championship results will be available by 6 pm.
More information is available at: https://inside.fei.org/fei/disc/endurance/main-events/european-championship-seniors-2023.