Nearly 50 riders from 14 countries will gather in Waregem, Belgium, from Friday (21 April) for the annual Quadrille Para equestrian competition. As well as the usual contingent of European nations competing (including eight riders from Sweden alone), there is also representation from as far afield as South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Canada.
Rio 2016 double grade Ib (now grade II) bronze medal winner Stinna Tange Kaastrup leads the Danish contingent in the competition. Paralympian at every Games since 1996 (except Rio 2016) Angelika Trabert from Germany also competes. Trabert’s teammate world, European, and multi Paralympic gold medallist Hannelore Brenner will take part, in what will be her first major competition since having to withdraw from Rio 2016 just days before the competition, after her horse fell ill.
Home riders representing Belgium include Rio 2016 Paralympians Barbara Minneci and Eveline Van Looveren.
Canada’s Roberta (Bert) Sheffield also returns to competition, on Double Agent, after her appearance at last year’s Paralympic Games. She said: “This is my first time back in the international arena since Rio. We have had a quiet winter with only a couple of national shows and I am hoping Double Agent will be fresh and feisty for Waregem.
“I’m looking forward to riding the new tests and hopefully showcasing our new freestyle. It would be great to get some good scores on the board going forward towards the next World Equestrian Games selection cycle.”
Also looking for those all-important qualification points in Belgium this weekend will be Great Britain’s up and coming riders Nicky Greenhill and Susanna Hext. Greenhill will ride two horses, Swoitina Hit and her usual ride Gregorian Chant. She said: “I’m really looking forward to the competition. It will be the first time I have taken two horses to an international so I’m excited by the new challenges that will bring.”
The husband and wife pairing of Ireland’s James Dwyer and South Africa’s Philippa Johnson-Dwyer will also compete in Belgium. She is the double Beijing 2008 gold medallist while he picked up a team bronze medal in London 2012. He will ride his new horse, Fleurette van de Kreungel, in the grade IV (previously grade IV) competition. Speaking at Rio 2016, Johnson-Dwyer described Fleurette as a real talent and was clearly excited by her husband’s new partnership.
The Quadrille competition in Waregem runs until Sunday (23 April).