2015 European Championships & Para-Equestrian–For the Record

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Princess Benedikte of Denmark in Aachen. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Princess Benedikte of Denmark in Aachen. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Oct. 24, 2014

At this week’s Global Dressage Forum staged in Denmark for the first time, organizers reported that some participants expressed “surprise and disbelief” about para dressage not being on the program at the European Championships of dressage, jumping, driving, reining and vaulting in Aachen, Germany in 2015.

At the end of the two-day forum, Global Dressage Foundation President Princess Benedikte “expressed her wish to help this discipline be part of the European Championships again–which immediately caused firm applause from the audience.”

“Participants in the 14th Global Dressage Forum strongly recommend the organizers of the European Championships in Aachen 2015 to include Para-equestrian in the program as one of the disciplines,” the princess was quoted as saying in an official statement.

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI), the governing body of international horse sports and that determines location and dates of championships, announced on June 8, 2012 it had awarded the European Championships for the five disciplines to Aachen for Aug. 17-30, 2015.

At the same time, the FEI announced award of the Europeans for para-equestrian dressage to Deauville, France to be held either Sept. 10-13 or Sept. 17-20.

The Global Dressage Forum reported Friday that Princess Benedikte spoke by telephone with Carl Meulenbergh, president of the Aachen organizing committee to ask about the “exclusion” of para dressage.

He pointed out that the award of European Championships was the decision of the FEI, the governing body of international horse sports.

In that case, the princess said, she will not pursue the issue further this year.

“However, Her Royal Highness will continue to press for future integration of Para Dressage Championships into all relevant FEI activities and urges all authorities in the Equestrian world to follow this line,” the forum news release said.

The first European Championships for para dressage were in Kristiansand, Norway in 2009 while the Europeans for dressage and jumping were at Windsor, England. In 2011, the European dressage championships were in Rotterdam, jumping in Madrid and para dressage in Moorsele, Belgium. The European championships of dressage, jumping and para dressage were held together for the first time in Herning, Denmark in 2013.

Aachen hosted the World Equestrian Games of the seven disciplines–dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining and vaulting in 2006, an award that was made years before . Lexington, Kentucky was the first WEG to host para dressage and the competitions were held in a covered arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. At the World Games in Normandy last summer para equestrian was held at La Prairie Racecourse a week before driving was staged at the same facility but was separate from other sports venues.