By Oriane Grandjean
Photography: FEI/Richard Juilliart
From September 23-26, the FEI Eventing European Championship took place in Avenches,Switzerland, the 35th running of this event since the inaugural championship took place in 1953. In fact, it was a crazy challenge for the organizers who had barely six months to set up such a large-scale championship, and Jean-Pierre Kratzer’s team succeeded admirably.
Since this event began in 1953, Great Britain has dominated the European championship podium no fewer than six times (1954, 1955, 1971, 1985, 1989, 1991) with their team members claiming individual gold, silver and bronze medals. Only Germany has equalled this feat, in 2011, but for Britain 2021 marked a seventh clean sweep!
There had been quite a shuffling of the cards following the dressage phase, when course designer Mike Etherington-Smith proposed a very twisty and technical cross-country course. It didn’t faze the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding JL Dublin (Diarados Cheeky Boy x Cantano), as he carried Nicola Wilson into first place following a magnificent round, and maintained total control in showjumping to claim individual gold. Speaking with great pride, Wilson said, “It’s a first championship for Dublin. He missed a bit of time when I injured my neck (two years ago) and then Covid came along, but now I’m so proud for my owners. I was delighted with his dressage, it just felt very solid and good, and then he stormed around the cross-country and produced a beautiful round in the show-jumping. How lovely it is to have had him since he was a young horse and to build that lovely partnership and trust between us.”
JL Dublin joined Nicola Wilson’s stable at the age of four, and they made their mark together by taking fifth place in the eventing World Breeding Championship for Young Horses at the age of seven in Le Lion d’Angers. JL Dublin was bred in Germany by Volker Goettsche-Goetze, and is a son of the excellent Diarado, while his mother, Zarinna, is a daughter of Canto. His maternal grandmother, Donina, has had many offspring, three of whom – Honina, Isar, and Olga III, have jumped at 1m60.
Individual silver went to Irish Sport Horse Brookfield Inocent (Inocent x Kings Servant), ridden by Piggy March. Born in 2009, out of Shalies Pet, Brookfield Inocent was bred by John Mulvey in Ireland and was started by Emma and Kevin McNab. According to March, “He’s a horse you have to be in the right mindset to ride, you cannot be complacent when tapping into his brilliance. He’s one of the best cross-country horses I’ve ever ridden.”.. To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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