Preview: World’s best Para equestrian riders head to Mannheim, Germany

Nearly 50 riders from nine countries will compete in the event 06 May 2016
A para-equestrian rider gallops on a horse.

Germany's Hannelore Brenner is a multiple Paralympic and world champion.

ⒸBirgit Popp
By Rob Howell | for the IPC

As competition for places for the Rio 2016 Paralympics hots up, Para equestrian dressage riders from around the world have made their way to Mannheim, Germany, for this season’s latest three-star competition held as part of the city’s May Market Horse Show between 7-9 May.

Some 48 riders from nine countries are competing in the five grades this year, up by 20 on last year’s contest. Among them is South Africa’s Philippa Johnson-Dwyer. Competing in the grade III competition, the Beijing 2008 double gold medallist will be trying to make it three wins from three (team, individual and freestyle) for the third time in a row having completed that hat-trick at the competitions in Deauville, France, and Waregem, Belgium so far this year.

Italy’s Sara Morganti, the current world number two (and highest ranked competitor in the competition), will also be in action on her Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 gold medal winning horse Royal Delight, and her newer ride Ferdinand di Fonte Abeti. She will face tough competition in the grade Ia contest though from Germany’s Elke Philip, close behind her in the world rankings at number four.

The Netherlands’ Rixt Van der Horst will likely be one of the main names to watch in the grade II competition, while Austria’s Pepo Puch, the current world number three, rides his up and coming horse Fontainenoir in the grade Ib competition against his close rival Nicole Den Dulk of the Netherlands and the ever-popular, ever-smiling Stinna Tange Kaastrup from Denmark.

Belgium’s double World and double Paralympic Champion Michèle George will compete in the grade IV contest on her champion horse FBW Rainman.

In their home competition Germany is fielding a team of 20 riders. Among them is the multi European, World Paralympic champion Hannelore Brenner in the grade III competition, as well as the vastly experienced Britta Napel, Anglika Trabert and Steffen Zeibig in grade II.

The competition runs from 7-9 May. You can follow the action and get live results on the competition website.