LUHMÜHLEN – Gert Naber was technical delegate of the FEI during the European Championships eventing in Luhmühlen. His wife Alice experienced a European Championship for the first time through the eyes of officials. She gives her impressions from another perspective!
“It started already differently than usual when I was lodged at Gert’s hotel especially for officials. So it can happen that you suddenly have breakfast together with the Danish dressage judge Anne-Mette Binder. In Tryon during the world equestrian games last year she judged me with ACSI Harry Belafonte, and now we were having breakfast together. She remembered! “How happy you must have been that it was over”, she said to me. Well, we’ve known each other for so long. So it’s very nice to meet each other in different circumstances and not just a short ‘hello, how are you?’.
I loved the encounters. I’ve known Catrin Norinder, director of eventing at the FEI, for 15 years. On Sunday afternoon I had an interesting conversation with Alfons Hörmann, the director of the German Olympic Committee, say the German Maurits Hendriks.
Tension also among officials
I thought it was special to notice that the mood changed a little when the cross day on Saturday came closer. You noticed an increasing nervousness among the officials. No matter how good your preparations, it all has to go well again! As a competitor, dealing with your own stress, you are not aware that officials also deal with tension. They have the same hopes for a good and safe competition; being a highlight and advertisement for the sport!
It was great to hear the chairman of the event, Julia Otto, speak on Saturday evening: she was grateful for the outcome. World-famous ex-riders were sitting at the table; Marc Phillips, Lucinda Green. All German riders still remember two of my former horses being in the German Olympic team for Atlanta. Herbert Blöcker rode ‘my’ Kiwi Dream, our nowadays teamchef Bettina Hoy – at that time still named Overesch – rode ‘my’ Watermill Stream. The year before, in 1995, I was riding in Atlanta myself. I really enjoyed my experiences at the EC from the official perspective very much. Dressed-up in a nice dress, I easily adjust, haha……
But fair is fair: I still prefer to be a participant in such a beautiful championship.
The European Championship was disappointing for the Dutch. Sweden and Italy earned their ticket to Tokyo in Luhmühlen. Only Tim Lips rode beyond expectations. After his very convincing season his individual ticket for Tokyo is more than deserved. For us as a team there is one very last chance: the Dutch have to be the best not yet placed team in the Nations Cup, with only two competitions to go, in Waregem and Boekelo. Our task is to stay ahead of Switzerland and Belgium. We still have four weeks left to Boekelo. ACSI Peter Parker is fit. I can only hope for a strong Dutch team in the end.”