THE FEI European eventing championships return once again this week to Luhmühlen, Germany where Ireland won team gold in 1979.
The successful quartet of riders 40 years ago were the late David Foster and Alan Lillingston plus John Watson, who had won the world silver medal the previous year in Kentucky, and Helen Cantillon O’Keeffe who would later become Irish chef d’equipe.
Watson’s son Sam, who has been selected for this year’s championships with Tullabeg Flamenco, will compete next week alongside Sarah Ennis (Horseware Woodcourt Garrison) and Cathal Daniels (Rioghan Rua), with whom he won team silver at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon last September.
Also on the Sally Corscadden-managed squad are Ciaran Glynn (November Night), who finished 14th at Badminton in the spring, and Tony Kennedy. The latter will be making his senior squad debut with the one-eyed Westeria Lane on whom he was clear within the time on the cross-country phase in the CCI4*-S at Alnwick last month.
Britain goes into the championships defending the team gold medal won at Strzegom and is fielding two members of that quartet, Tina Cook and Oliver Townend, plus Laura Collett, Piggy French and Tom McEwen.
As the host nation, Germany can have 12 riders at Luhmühlen and named among the dozen are Ingrid Kilmke and Michael Jung who, respectively, won individual gold and silver in 2017.
The first horse inspection is due to start at 3pm local time on Wednesday with the opening ceremony taking place that evening. The destination of the medals will be known by early afternoon on Sunday.
The 26-fence cross-country course has been designed by Britain’s Mike Etherington-Smith who was also the designer for this week’s Millstreet international horse trials.