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European Dressage Title Up For Grabs

Final declarations of horses and riders for the European Dressage Championships to be held at Hickstead, Sussex on 14th - 17th August indicate a wide-open field, with the very real possibility of the title going to a non-German.

There are question marks over the participation of Ulla Salzgeber's Rusty, pending the results of a second sample drug test, and the absence of Nadine Capellman's Farbenfroh from the German squad leaves the door wide open for other strong contenders.

Anky van Grunsven recently completed her qualification for the Championships with Gestion Salinero and comes to the event with brand new music for the Freestyle written by Cees Slings, the well-known music writer who also co-wrote the Championships' theme music with rock musician, Mike Rutherford. Spanish rider, Beatrice Ferrar-Salat and Beauvalais will be strong contenders having clinched silver at the WEG, and the USA's Lisa Wilcox and Relevant will be worth watching. The Germans now have until 1st August to name their final team members.

The Championships are classified as "Open" and have attracted a wealth of teams from around the world. A record 15 nations will field a full team, more than at the last Olympics and the World Equestrian Games. Teams from Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland have been confirmed. Riders representing a further 9 nations will participate as individuals from Belarus, Belgium, Estonia, Greece, Israel, Italy, Norway, Ukraine and USA. A record 24 countries will be represented in the Championship, which presents the last opportunity for nations to qualify for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

The British team of Richard Davison, Ballaseyr Royal; Emile Faurie, Rascher Hopes; Emma Hindle, Wie Weltmeyer; Nicola McGivern, Active Walero; and Carl Hester, Escapado (reserve) will be aiming for a good result to secure their ticket to Athens. Their performance should get a special lift from an enthusiastic home crowd.

The event will also feature The Rhinegold British Young Horse Championships, a chance to see the dressage stars of the future during a special Young Horse Day on Wednesday 13th August. Following a series of 10 qualifying events throughout the country, the best 5 and 6 year olds in Britain will come forward for judging with the final presentations being made on Sunday prior to the individual European Championship.

The Berkeley Group British Pas de Deux Championship is one of the most popular competitions at the event, with pairs of riders performing dressage to music. The Champions will go forward to a special International Challenge against an invited international pair.

Show Director, Dane Rawlins, comments, "This is the first time in 16 years that the European Dressage Championships are being held in Britain. It is a wonderful opportunity to witness world-class dressage on home soil and it will be a fascinating battle for the title".

As well as competition, the event will also host the International Sports Horse and Sports Medicine Symposium, a forum for world-renowned veterinarians and physicians to discuss matters of physiology and psychology in equestrian sport

More information about the Championships is available on the website Tickets are available from Ticketmaster on 0870 0602328 (24 hours) and at all Ticketmaster ticket centres nationwide. Book online at For Group bookings call 08705 94 94 94 94.


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