The FEI European Jumping Championships 2015 got off to a flying start in Aachen, Germany today with a brilliant victory for Frenchwoman Penelope Leprevost, while the host nation foursome of Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Ludger Beerbaum, Christian Ahlmann and Daniel Deusser took the early lead in the team standings.
The French lie second going into tomorrow’s first round of the team competition with the defending European champions from Great Britain in third. But there is less than a fence between the top six countries, with Spain in fourth, the Netherlands in fifth and Ukraine in sixth place.
A total of 22 teams lined out in this afternoon’s speed competition, and with four seconds added for every fence down, and results converted into points, just 1.33 separates Germany from France, while the British are only another 1.29 points further adrift.
And there is another sub-plot at play this week, with the last three team spots on offer for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and Ukraine are already qualified, but the defending Olympic champions from Great Britain are not. As it stands this evening they lead in the race for those three Rio berths followed by Spain, while the seventh-placed Italians and eighth-placed Irish are also in hot pursuit.
Full results of FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 here
Facts and Figures:
A total of 94 horse-and-rider combinations were on the start-list for today’s opening Team and First Individual Qualifier at the FEI European Jumping Championships 2015 in Aachen, Germany.
First into the arena this afternoon was Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum with the fabulous Fibonacci.
Course designer Frank Rothenberger GER.
Table C 239/263 competition judged according to time with conversion of penalties into seconds added.
13 fences, 16 jumping efforts.
Amongst the individual competitors today were father and daughter, Geir and Victoria Gulliksen, from Norway.
30 clear rounds in today’s competition won by Penelope Leprevost and Flora de Mariposa from France.
Germany heads the team rankings going into tomorrow’s first round of the team competition.
Ludger Beerbaum (GER): “Meredith started close to perfect today, a really accurate, nice round and the other three team-members as well. I think we can be really pleased with today’s performance.”
Joe Clee GBR: “The footing was fantastic today, I didn’t feel uncomfortable on any of the turns.”
Frank Rothenberger GER, course designer: “It’s always difficult (building the course) for the first class. It is scheduled up to 1.50m and can’t go any bigger. The highest jump today was 1.53m and we had about one-third clear rounds – 25 percent is what you want but I’m pleased with how it went. When I was building the course I tried to avoid tiny turns and short turns because we have so many horses in the arena.”
Bertram Allen IRL: “My mare will probably take a good bit of work tomorrow morning – she’s fresher than normal so I suppose that’s maybe not a bad thing when you’re looking into a long week – I’ve plenty of horse left!”
Photo FEI/Dirk Caremans