Brits bag polished performances on day one of European Championships

12th Aug 2015

Mood in camp is high after the first day of competition for Great Britain’s dressage riders out at the FEI European Championships in Aachen, Germany, 12 August 2015. Two great tests from Worcestershire’s Michael Eilberg and West Sussex based Fiona Bigwood, sees the team sitting in third place overnight on day one of the two day team competition.

Michael Eilberg got the Brits off to a good solid start earlier today, as he took to the impressive Aachen stadium with Mr Ferdi Eilberg’s Marakov. The pair produced a great test, with some impressive work coming through in the piaffe, their final mark was only lowered by some small mistakes to score 69.943%.

Michael commented after his test; “The atmosphere in the stadium, it’s quite a daunting thing for a horse like him, I did feel him a little bit and had to hold his hand, but what’s really lovely is that I had to help him out a bit and he’s still in the 70’s [Michael’s score was later corrected], that’s the brilliant thing for me. He piaffed really well, transitions were very smooth and he felt good.”

Heading into the afternoon session it was Fiona Bigwood’s turn to step into the spotlight, and she didn’t disappoint with her mother, Penny Bigwood’s, ten year old mare Atterupgaards Orthillia – more affectionately known as Tillie. The talented duo produced a superb test in what is only their sixth international, with some beautiful work coming in the extended trot and pirouettes, to be rewarded with a score of 75.800%, finishing just 1% off her Personal Best (Hartpury 2015) and overnight second place.

Commenting afterwards, Fiona said; “I’m on cloud nine. She was amazing to ride in there. I knew that I had to pull out a mark to be in with a chance of getting a medal, I knew I had to produce something; the pressures not on from them [the rest of the team] but it’s on from myself, I’m really pleased with that.

“We are over the moon, she was really worried the last couple of minutes going in, so to go in there and do what she did, everyone in the yard’s over the moon.”

The scores see Great Britain head into day two of the team competition in third place, sitting just behind Germany and The Netherlands, with just 4.36% separating the top three nations. GBR’s final two riders, Carl Hester with Miss Jane de la Mare’s Nip Tuck and Charlotte Dujardin aboard Mrs Roly Luard, Mrs Anne Barrott and Mr Carl Hester’s Valegro, both go tomorrow.

Equestrian Team GBR is supported by the UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme; the British teams are very grateful to the support they receive from official Team GBR suppliers Dodson & Horrell, Equi-Trek, Land Rover, NAF, NuuMed, Point Two Equine, Tagg Equestrian and Toggi.

The competition gets underway tomorrow just after eleven o’clock local time (10am BST); Carl will take to the arena at 2pm (BST) with Charlotte and Valegro competing at 6pm (BST).

Full live results from the competition can be found at:

More information about the Great Britain teams competing out at Aachen this week can be located on the European Hub

In other news from Aachen:

The reining trio arrived in Aachen yesterday ahead of their European competition getting underway on Friday. They begin their 2015 championship tomorrow when the trot-up gets underway. For all the latest information on the reining competition visit

Great Britain’s eventers get their FEI Nations Cup competition underway tomorrow. The competition which lasts two days sees dressage and showjumping competed on Thursday, before the cross-country decides the team and individual placings on Friday.

For results from the Eventing Nations Cup, visit:

For information about the GBR team: