Nicola Philippaerts (Katanga v/h Dingeshof) and Olivier Philippaerts (H&M Le Blue Diamond van ’t Ruytershof) are part of the Belgian team for the European Championship in Riesenbeck together with Pieter Devos (Jade vd Bisschop) and Jos Verlooy (Varoune). Reserve is Wilm Vermeir (IQ van het Steentje. For both brothers, this is their second European Championship as a senior rider, but it will be the very first time that they ride it together.
Nicola’s first time at the European Championships for senior riders was in 2013 together with Cortez in Herning (Denmark). In 2017 it was Olivier’s turn, with H&M Legend of Love in Göteborg. Both riders are a bit older and more experienced now. That extra experience is vital and keeps the team in balance, as all of the horses are making their debut.
Katanga v/h Dingeshof showed some great things the past few months. During the Grand Prix of the Longines Global Champions Tour London, Nicola and his mare finished sixth after a stunning jump-off, “Katanga is in shape, that much is clear”, knows Nicola. “She got some other great results as well this season, both in America and Belgium. However, Katanga has no experience with a championship like this. And a championship is not like any other competition. Your horse needs to be there, a few days in a row. Well, she has to do it one day, and I think this is the right moment. Anyway, my hopes for the European Championship are high.”
Olivier won’t give us any predictions neither, just like Nicola “I know, it’s a great cliché, but anything can happen during such a championship. For sure, we both hope to ride the individual championship on Sunday. We start with the speed class on Wednesday, to continue with the nations cup on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, we got a day off to focus again on Sunday’s championship, the individual competition. H&M Le Blue Diamond van ’t Ruytershof was victorious in the Global Tour’s team competition in Valkenswaard. He’s in good shape and that makes me confident. It’s up to me and my colleagues now to transmit our championship experience to our less experienced horses. If we succeed, we well… We could make it far.”, says Olivier.