Leone Jei (Baltic VDL - Dara x Corland) ridden by Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs 66 - Martin FUCHS ride LEONE JEI - SUI

By Adriana van Tilburg
Photography: FEI/Taniere

The European championships took place recently in the beautiful surrounds of Riesenbeck – in the grounds of Ludger Beerbaum’s home. The event also framed the ‘farewell’ to the stallion Comme il faut (Cornet Obolensky - Ratina Z x Ramiro Z, Stamm 8145) – an emotional celebration as he was bred by Beerbaum out of his outstanding Olympian mare.

Overall, the atmosphere was one of a kind, everything organized for the good of the horses and providing a great promotion for both sport and breeding. Although this article will focus on the European championship rounds, the event included interesting side programms with many approved stallions competing in different classes.

Countries/studbooks represented

In the first qualifying round of the 2021 European championships there were 65 horses, with all three Belgian studbooks represented for a total of 24 horses (12 x BWP; SBS x four; Zangersheide x eight). Germany was represented with 21 horses: Holsteiner x seven; DSP x three; OS x five; Hanoverian x two; Bavarian x one, Westfalian x one. Plus the following: the Netherlands with a total of nine (KWPN x seven; NRPS x two); Sweden with two of their Warmbloods; France with four Selle Français; as well as one apiece for Poland (SP); AES; ISH; CDE; and MIPAAF/SI.

Day one: A Holsteiner win

C-Vier (Cardento - Via Thia x Concorde, Stamm 8188, breeder: W. Wolters) won the first day under the saddle of David Will (GER), ahead of the unstoppable Peder Fredricson riding Catch Me Not S (Cardento - Ralme E x Ramiro’s Son I, breeder: Krister Svedberg). Notably, both these horses were by the Holsteiner-bred Cardento (Capitol I - B-Estelle x Lord, Stamm 741, breeder: Reimer Witt), who was partnered with Peter Eriksson for 10 years. He recalls a special time: “I got Cardento when he just was five years old. He was a tall boy without muscle. He had already jumped a bit when he was five and six, but he really started to show his capacity when he was seven. When he was eight years old he already had clear rounds in Nations Cups. I suggested to not bring him to the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000, which would have been to early for him, but in 2001, 2002, and 2004 we won team silver medals. At home he was not so much a stallion, he was behaving quite well and was a simple horse to handle. He had good stable behavior and was also not so complicated to ride. Rather a calm horse, so riding him required a bit more work. I exercised him a lot, and he could do some dressage as well. I had Cardento for the longest time, so really built up a partnership with him. I think my most beautiful moment with Cardento would be the jump-off at the 2004 Olympic Games (Athens). We were a little behind with our score, but our last rider Rolf-Göran Bengtsson jumped clear, while the other teams had faults, so we were suddenly in the jump-off. I was the first to go and I did something special; I jumped over some decoration to save time. After I finished clear I made several flying changes and some pirouettes because Cardento had been so amazing and I was so happy that we were clear... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber

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