Ermelo in the Netherlands is set to host the highly anticipated FEI Endurance European Championship 2023 – an event that will bring together elite athlete combinations from across the continent.
The Championship promises to showcase some of the finest Endurance combinations in Europe, and is no stranger to world-class performances. At the 2021 Championship – also hosted at the same venue – the Spanish were in full force as Angel Soy Coll (ESP) & Warrens Hill Chayze took to the top spot on the podium, while his compatriot Maria Alvarez Ponton took bronze, with Frenchman Vincent Gaudriot clinching silver. Spain made it a double whammy as they also clinched top spot in the Team competition with France taking silver and Italy, bronze.
France and Portugal, who achieved notable team finishes at the postponed FEI Endurance World Championship 2022 in Butheeb (UAE) that ultimately took place in February 2023, are eager to build on their successes, while Spain – that perennial powerhouse in Endurance – is also eyeing a team medal in Ermelo after their captain, Jaume Punti Dachs, claimed an individual bronze in Butheeb this year.
While countries like Spain have dominated previous European championships – and held the team title since 2015 – other countries are hot on their heels, looking to make their mark. Teams from across Europe are working hard on qualifying horse and rider combinations, all while emphasising the core principle of Endurance: “to finish is to win,” a tactic which clearly paid off at the recent World Championship for Teams France and Portugal.
Endurance is a sport that can appeal to anyone, as equine and human athletes navigate diverse terrains throughout the track. Spectators will be able to witness the event from various points along the course, including the beautiful forests and heather-covered moors surrounding the Dutch National Equestrian Centre.
The event organisers are striving to elevate Endurance to new heights of excellence and teamwork, and they have a strong track record having staged the 2021 FEI Endurance European Championship, which also featured the FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Riders and Juniors. While Ermelo, as a venue, also has a long-standing commitment to Endurance, with the first international event held there nearly two decades ago.
“At Ermelo, we believe that the sport should be about more than just individual achievement – it should be a celebration of team performance, integrity, and cooperation,” says Eric Lamsma, President of the Organising Committee. “Our mission is to foster a competitive environment where these values are at the forefront, while also promoting sustainability for both the horses and the environment.
“We’re committed to upholding the highest standards of horse welfare, sportsmanship, fairness, and respect for all involved in the Endurance community.”
With its world-class facilities that include stables, veterinary lanes, rest areas, and easy access to riding paths in the scenic Veluwe region, the Dutch National Equestrian Centre is well-prepared to host this prestigious competition once again.
Key dates for the championship include the submission of nominated entries by 17 July and confirmation of definite entries by 31 August. Horses and riders must meet specific qualification criteria, including completing a CEI 3* as a combination, by 9 July. Additionally, participating horses must meet the minimum age requirement of 9 years old. For those not participating in the championship, regular CEI Endurance rides will be held on 9 September.
The FEI Endurance European Championship 2023 offers a glimpse into the future of Endurance, and fans, athletes, and the equestrian community as a whole are eagerly anticipating the challenges and celebrations that lie ahead.
More info will be available at: https://inside.fei.org/fei/disc/endurance/main-events/european-championship-seniors-2023.
by Stacey Stearns