Photos, from top to bottom: Dominique Evrard, Pietro di Geronimon, Karin Boulanger, Maritza Pereira
After the good performance of the Belgian Juniors at Kreuth in Germany at the European Championship (Belgium took Team Silver and Bronze Individual), it is now time to focus on the riders and horses who will travel to USA.
Belgium is a small country with quite few endurance riders (500 competing at various levels from 30km to 160km). In terms of international riders, there are maybe 30 to 40, depending on the year and the horses they have to compete. Last year, we had only two FEI rides in Belgium, the major one at Mont Le Soie and the 'WorldCup for Veterans' in Mirwart which takes place End October. But it is easy in Belgium to cross the border and head to the neighboring countries, France, Germany, UK.
France is our preferred destination as we can find many high-level rides at less than 500 km from our place. And always a very good level of participation and well-organized rides.
The Belgian Chef d'Equipe could this year make his choice among six couples. The federation saved money to send four horses/riders/crew per discipline. Of course, like everywhere showjumping, dressage and military are the most favored discipline. Endurance receives nevertheless a good treatment in Belgium (we can say that's because the discipline brings often medals to the country).
Pierre Arnould proposed the following list to the federation. He was assisted by the endurance team veterinarian and also by the 'all discipline' team veterinarian. The list of four couples and one reserve was accepted by the federation.
They are :
- Pietro di Geronimo with Mengalli
- Karin Boulanger with Poespass
- Maritza Pereira with Lima du Barthas
- Dominique Evrard with Alicia d'Havenne
Reserve will be Michel Lequarre and LI Korum. Nevertheless the endurance commission entered a special request to the federation in order to get, like other disciplines, a fifth horse traveling to Kentucky. The decision has not yet been taken.
One can remember the fuss around the Belgian team last year at the time of the selection for the European Championship at Assisi, Italy. The Belgian rider, Kristel Vandenabeel entered an appeal at the court against the Belgian federation, because she was not making part of the selection. A first express decision of a regional court asked the Belgian federation to change his decision, but an appeal from the court of Liege revoked the initial decision of the court. Will we see the same scenario this year?
All European horses will fly from the Wallonian airport of Liege, well located in the middle of Europe and equipped with all necessary infrastructure for shipping horses abroad.
Stay tuned, we will try to shoot some photos when the horse will embark on their jumbo's...