European Championships Begin With Focus On First Head-to-Head Between World # 1 Jessica von Bredow-Werndl on Dalera BB & World Champions Charlotte “Lottie” Fry on Glamourdale

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Jessica von Bredow-Werndl riding TSF Dalera BB in the European Championships’ main arena ahead of the start of competition Wednesday. © 2023 Ken Braddick/DRESSAGE-NEWS.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

RIESENBECK, Germany, Sept. 5, 2023–Four days of some of the most intense dressage competition begin the European Championships Wednesday but, no offense to most of the 69 horse and rider combinations in the Grand Prix, the focus is on the long-awaited first head-to-head competition between world No. 1 Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and her partner TSF Dalera BB and World Champions Charlotte “Lottie” Fry and Glamourdale.

Jessica and Dalera, Denmark’s Nanna Skodborg Merrald on Blue Hors Zepter, No. 2 in the world, is set to follow immediately and next to go will be Charlotte Fry on Glamourdale–the promise of some breathtaking dressage in 27 minutes from 15:57  to 16:24 Central European Time (9:57-to 10;24 a.m. US Eastern Time) Thursday.

Charlotte “Lottie” Fry and Glamourdale at the 2022 World Championships. © Ken Braddick/DRESSAGE-NEWS.com

Finland will lead lead off two days of Grand Prix: complete schedule is below.

The Grand Prix will determine medals from the 18 nations taking part and three countries will earn the right to join teams at the Paris Olympics next year.

Already qualified for Paris are Denmark, host France, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands and Sweden plus, obviously not here, the United States, that earned a start at the 2022 World Championships, as did Australia from its geographic group; Poland in a separate event. Two are to come from the Pan American Games in October and one from an African or Middle Eastern country.

Austria led by five-time Olympian Victoria Max-Theurer on Abegglen, NRW FH, Spain with two PREs and a Lusitano on the four-member team and Portugal with Maria Caetano on her Tokyo Olympic mount Fenix de Caetano are given a good chance of qualifying for Paris.

Among the other highlights and story lines at these championships include the success of Denmark in recent years–including world No. 2 Nanna Skodborg Merrald on Blue Hors Zepter.

Sweden’s Therese Nilshagen on Dante Weltino OLD at the 2017 European Championships. © Ken Braddick/DRESSAGE-NEWS.com

Sweden’s Therese Nilshagen on Dante Weltino OLD, a top breeding stallion, is the only combination stretching back to the 2017 Europeans where they became stars as a major factor on Sweden’s team that earned bronze. The pair were also on Sweden’s 2019 Europeans. Although the stallion is 16 years old, the partnership was a standout at the 2023 World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany.

Controversy surrounds Denmark team mate Andreas Helgstrand on Jovian, the rider who is a horse sales partner of Ludger Beerbaum whose organization of Riesenback has been described as “superb.”

Andreas this week lost a court case in which he sought to have squelched video taken in secret at his Danish training center. He is deeply involved in trying to meld Wellington, Florida Global Dressage Festival and the Winter Equestrian Festival of hunter-jumpers into a single show grounds that has run into obstacles.

Complete schedule of European Championships Grand Prix