Anky returns to European Champs, but on a different tack

Anky van Grunsven and Whizashiningwalla BB.
Anky van Grunsven and Whizashiningwalla BB. © Aachen 2015/ Michael Strauch

Dutch rider Anky van Grunsven is competing at the FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 – but this time with a stetson rather than a top hat.

The three-time Olympic dressage gold medallist and two-time World Champion will be taking part in the reining competition at Aachen, along with Dutch team-mates Jurgen Pouls, Olivier van den Berg and Rieky Young.

Van Grunsven, 47, was on the Dutch reining team for the 2010 World Equestrian Games, where she was also dressage team reserve with Painted Black.

She has been competing in reining since 2009, but her last time at CHIO Aachen was as a dressage rider in the Deutsche Bank Preis in 2004, and in the Lambertz Nations’ Cup with the Dutch team in 2005.

The team title will be decided at Aachen on August 14, with the individual competition, the Havens Pferdefutter Prize, scheduled for Sunday, August 16.

The first rider out in the reining competition will be Germany’s Gina Schumacher, daughter of racing driver Michael Schumacher.

Double-European Junior Champion Gina Schumacher will enter the arena as the official “guinea pig rider” before the team competition starts on Friday. She will ride the manoeuvres, which subsequently have to be performed by the European Championships competitors. Her ride will be commentated and explained to the spectators.

Gina Schumacher won individual and team gold at the FEI European Junior Reining Championships in Givrins, Switzerland, at the beginning of July.

Gina Schumacher with her horse, Captain Igloo.
Gina Schumacher with her horse, Captain Igloo. © Aachen 2015/ art&light, Corrie Fuhr).

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