Everyone involved at Blair Castle was relieved when the final day dawned bright and dry, if not exactly warm. The covered stand in the Longines main arena was almost full, with spectators also lining the rails.
The first country to present was the Netherlands, with all three horses looking well and eager to trot. They were all passed without incident. The sole representative from Denmark, Hanne Wind Ramsgaard presented Vestervangs Arami, who spooked at the flowers, but nonetheless looked impressive and was passed.
Ireland only have three horses left in the competition, and all were passed on first presentation, with Horseware Lukeswell looking particularly well conditioned. Camilla Speirs looked especially stylish in a tweed jacket with blue trim, setting off the diminutive Portersize Just a Jiff perfectly.
All three Italians were passed by the ground jury of Sue Baxter, Andrew Bennie and Sándor Fülöp, though Luca Roman’s Castlewoods Jake did look slightly ponderous as his trotted away the first time. Arianna Schivo wore an incredibly well cut navy jacket, reinforcing her nation’s reputation in the style stakes.
Though Duchess Desiree had her ears pinned back for the entire trot up, she was accepted for Finland, which brought us on to Great Britain. Laura Collett might be well advised to look to her team mates for trot up attire in the future, as her tight skirt made it hard for her to keep up with an exuberant Grand Manouevre and show him off to his best. There were big cheers from the stand when Pippa Funnell’s Sandman 7 and Kitty King’s Persimmon were accepted, both horses looking exceptionally well. Arctic Soul was another British horse on fine form, and Gemma Tattersall struggled to keep up with him, almost getting flattened at one point. He was also accepted, as was Izzy Taylor’s Briarlands Matilda, who goes into the final phase in third place.
Oli Townend gave us the first nasty moment of the day, when Fenyas Elegance was sent to the hold box. There was a long discussion by the ground jury both on first and second presentation, and the second time she trotted Oli was careful to run off the end of the tarmac before asking her to come back to walk. She was passed and proceeds to the final phase. One Two Many (Nicola Wilson), DHI Lupison (Holly Woodhead) and Lilly Corrine (Sarah Bullimore) were all passed first time, but sadly Wills Oakden withdrew Greystone Midnight Melody overnight.
Switzerland had two horses to present, both of whom were passed, before the Germans brought out their six horses for inspection. Opgun Louvo looked perhaps a little stiff, but was passed to compete, giving Sandra Auffarth yet another chance at an individual and team medal. The remaining German horses were all also passed fit to compete, with a groom again trotting up fischerTakinou for Michael Jung, who remains somewhat lame himself after his fall at Burghley. Horseware Hale Bob looked in particularly good condition for a smiling Ingrid Klimke, and in fact none of the German horses looked as though the cross country had taken anything out of them.
Only two Russian horses remained in the competition, and whilst Elnira Nabieva’s Chabanak was passed, Nabludatel (Boris Vasilev) was sent to the hold box looking noticably short in front, and was later withdrawn.
France again looked dapper in their red, white and blue team trot up outfits, and all five horses were accepted on first presentation. Sweden brought forward four horses, all of whom were passed, though there was some discussion by the ground jury over Louise Svensson Jähde’s mount Viva 29. Spain were the only nation apart from the Germans to get all four team members back home yesterday, but the first to present, Albert Hermoso Fernandez, was sent to the hold box with Mirla CP, who was trotted on a tight rein initially, then when given a looser rein broke into canter. The horse looked noticeably unlevel, and was later withdrawn from the holding box. The remaining 3 horses were all passed.
The final horse to be presented was Lully des Aulnes for Belgium, who was passed without incident.
Our coverage from the Longines FEI European Eventing Championship is brought to you by Sportzvibe massage rugs from Horseware. Read our reviews of the Sportzvibe Horse Rug here and the Dog Rug here and here.