This Saturday sees the world’s top Endurance athletes from 46 nations compete at the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships, at Slovakia’s state-of-the-art Šamorín Equestrian Centre.
A total of 136 horse/rider combinations will head out on the 160-kilometre track which runs across grass, field and forest paths alongside the River Danube and around the foot of the Little Carpathians mountain range.
“We have the best Endurance athletes on the planet competing in the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships on Saturday,” said FEI Endurance Director Manuel Bandeira de Mello.
Ranked third in the world, 14-year-old Pilar Saravia from Uruguay will be the youngest competitor at the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships where she will ride her grey mare SM Dhanderiega. She won her first 3* 160km ride on home soil in July, with her second 3* 160km win in Buenos Aires just two weeks later.
Other competitor’s intent on crossing the finish line first are the United Arab Emirates riders. The HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, who took individual gold at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy (FRA), team gold in 2012 and individual bronze in 2010, will lead a team of five at this year’s Championships in Šamorín, including 2010 and 2012 fellow team member Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum.
Spain’s Endurance squad also could be in with a chance of the top spot at the Longines Championships. Maria Alvarez Ponton, current world Endurance number one who won individual gold at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2010 will be competing with her husband and Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 gold medal winning team-mate Jaume Punti Dachs and the 2015 European Championships team member Alex Luque Moral.
But France who had success this summer in Rio in show jumping and eventing will be hoping that their winning streak can run to this weekend. Jean Philippe Frances, who led France to Endurance team silver at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014, and to silver again at last October’s European Championships where he also won individual bronze, will lead a team of five.
“The world’s top Endurance athletes get to compete at this level only every two years, at either the World Endurance Championships which coincide with the Olympic cycle, or at the FEI World Equestrian Games,” said FEI Endurance Director Manuel Bandeira de Mello. “We’re all looking forward to seeing these athletes showcase this incredible sport, which is a real test of the partnership between horse and rider, and the ability to cross all kinds of terrain.”
Live FEI TV action on www.feitv.org