DRESSAGE OUTDRAWS JUMPING AT EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

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Near full grand stand at the European Dressage Championships Grand Prix Special. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Near full grand stand at the European Dressage Championships Grand Prix Special. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WINDSOR, England, Aug. 27–Dressage competition at the Alltech FEI European Championships is outdrawing the jumping competition that the organizers said Thursday is “surprising.”

The first two days of the first ever joint biennial dressage and jumping championships at Windsor Castle just outside London saw disappointing crowds, attributed to the poor economy and rainy weather.

However, the grand stands for the dessage Grand Prix Special on Thursday in warm, sunny weather were nearly full.

Simon Brooks-Ward, director of the event, said that that ticket sales for dressage were greater by a small margin than for jumping.

He did not provide specifics, but told dressage-news.com the numbers were “surprising” because Britons traditionally favor jumping over dressage.

“I think that although dressage may have a smaller number of supporters it is a more tightly knit community that supports events like this,” he said.

More than 20 nations are participating in the six-day championships as well as some non-Europeans such as Laura Kraut and Lauren Hough of the United States in open jumper classes.

A highlight of the event will be a Friday night equestrian and sports gala.

The Grand Prix Musical Freestyle of the top 15 combinations scheduled for Saturday night under lights.