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The Stars of Equitation at San Patrignano

There are two weeks left until the start of the eighth edition of the annual San Patrignano International Show Jumping Competition. It will be held in the equestrian centre of the community from the 23rd to the 25th of July, and promises to be a veritable showcase- starring some of the world's top riders.

Among the forty riders set to compete in the event we find four-time Olympic Gold Medalist from Germany, Ludger Beerbaum (ranked second worldwide). Also present will be World Champion (Rome '98) and third ranked in the world, Rodrigo Pessoa, 2001 World Cup winner from Switzerland Markus Fuchs (7th worldwide), and, rounding out the top ten, Otto Becker, European Champion with the German team and eighth in worldwide ranking. Also competing will be two French riders, namely Eric Navet (2002 World Championships Silver Medal), and Michel Robert (Second place team and individual at the 1994 World Games). Belgian rider Ludo Philippaerts, who arrived second at the 2001 Europeans, will be present, as will two of Italy's top riders: Jerry Smit and Gianni Govoni. Both riders will be atop their most formidable horses. Smit will be riding Nadir, the most important horse to be bred and raised by San Patrignano. Likewise, Govoni will be paired with Havinia, the mare on which he arrived fifth at the World Championships in Jerez, Spain.

Giacomo Muccioli, president of the organizing committee for the event, points out that San Patrignano's show comes at a crucial time in this year' season. "The event is set to be held right before the break preceding the Athens Summer Olympics. Therefore, it is the last possibility for the coaches to assess the strength of their horse and rider teams. In fact, many horses that will be present at our show will also be competing in Athens: Gladdys with Beerbaum, Dollar du Murnier and Navet, Galet D'Auzay with Robert. Furthermore, it is also the last chance these riders will have to try out our arena before next years Europeans. It's only natural that the favourites won't let this opportunity slip by.

Olaf Petersen from Germany, and Marco Cortinovis from Italy will design the course. The title of course designer, in fact, will be passed on from Petersen to Cortinovis in occasion of the next European Championships; as it is tradition that the course of the Europeans be designed by someone from the host country.

Next week is another important occasion for the San Patrignano Community, when it will present two promotional films created to publicize next year's European Championships. They will be introduced at Aachen's 100th annual "World Equestrian Festival", which is by many considered to be the Wimbledon of equestrian sports. The ad features the cream of the crop of world equitation: Beerbaum, Fuchs, Philippaerts, and Smit.



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