At the beginning of last week, the final entries for the FEI World Championship for Four-in-Hand in Valkenswaard 2020 were announced. It has now become clear which National Federations will send a nations team and which drivers will compete on individual basis. Despite the Corona restrictions, almost the entire world top will come to Valkenswaard to compete for the medals.
European champion Bram Chardon and Dutch champion Koos de Ronde will represent The Netherlands, as well as IJsbrand Chardon. This trio will form the Dutch team. Mark Weusthof is the Dutch team reserve. Germany is also represented with six strong competitors including Christoph and Anna Sandmann. Remarkably, Australia has also succeeded in forming a team for the nations competition. Reigning world champion is the team of the USA. Unfortunately, the Americans cannot defend their title this year because they could not all make the crossing to Europe. Misdee Wrigley-Miller is the only US driver to compete in Valkenswaard.
Decoration and terrain
Reigning world champion Boyd Exell is the top favorite for the individual title. He has, however, the disadvantage that the competition takes place on his home grounds. People might think this is an advantage, but especially now that everything 'at home' looks so different, it will be a strange sensation for the horses. Furthermore, two marathon obstacles have been rebuilt by course designer Jeroen Houterman. Some obstacles may be familiar to Boyd's horses, but nobody knows yet how the gates will be flagged. There is even a risk that the horses will take too much initiative. And with all the decoration, it also looks very different from what they are used to.
The five times world champion is looking forward to it. 'The organising team of Driving Valkenswaard International is very experienced in organising competitions and all preparations are going according to plan. So I assume that I can fully concentrate on my participation and I will therefore stay on the competitors campsite and my horses will stay in the stable tents, together with all other competitors and their horses. It is good for the sport that we do have a World Championship and I was very pleased with the positive reactions we received to our initiative. It will of course be strange to compete without having an audience under the current circumstances. But fortunately all fans can follow the action via livestreaming on FEI.tv and the FEI Youtube channel.'
International two-star competition
At the same time, it has also been announced how many pairs and four -in-hands will compete in the two-star competition, which takes place simultaneously. More than 20 pairs will start, including reigning world champion Martin Hölle from Hungary. The Netherlands is well represented in this competition with 10 competitors.
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