Great Britain’s Half Moon Delphi May be Fit For European Championships

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Michael Eilberg on Half Moon Delphi. © Ken Braddick/
Michael Eilberg on Half Moon Delphi. © Ken Braddick/

AACHEN, Germany, May 30, 2015–Half Moon Delphi, the British-bred gray mare that Michael Eilberg rode on world and European championship teams, may be fit enough to compete at a national show and seek to represent Great Britain at the Europeans in Aachen, Germany in August.

The plan, Michael told at the World Equestrian Festival where he is competing Marakov in the CDI5*, is that the 13-year-old British Hanoverian mare will be able to compete in at least one national competition before the Europeans Aug. 11-23.

That competition may be Hartpury, England July 6-12 where Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro are scheduled for their sole competition before the Europeans .

Half Moon Delphi has not been fit to compete since the World Equestrian Games in Normandy in August, 2014 where many dressage riders complained about the footing on a temporary base in a soccer stadium made worse when it was rolled to become what some described as hard as concrete so it would not wash away in heavy rain.

Half Moon Delphi sustained a tendon injury there and has not competed since.

The mare became a lightning rod for complaints about judging at the 2013 European Championships where the due was awarded scores from a high of 75.638 per cent to a low of 71.809 per cent from six of the judges but an inexplicable 65.532 per cent from the seventh member of the panel. The score contributed to the difference of just 0.427 per cent separating the silver medalist Netherlands and Great Britain that settled for bronze.

Great Britain along with Germany and the Netherlands qualified through last year’s WEG to field a team at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

However, the nation’s dressage team has medaled at the three European championships since 2009, the two World Games in the same period and the historic Olympic double gold medal performance at home in 2012.

Valegro ridden by Charlotte Dujardin as No. 1 in the world and Nip Tuck ridden by Carl Hester will lead the British effort at the Aachen Europeans. Michael and Half Moon Delphi are proven at championships while other combinations such as Fiona Bigwood and the 10-year-old Oldenburg mare Atterupgaards Orthilia have been impressive but are relatively green.