The German venue of Luhmühlen has been allocated hosting rights to the FEI European Eventing Championships 2019, the FEI announced today.

The 2019 fixture will be the sixth time that Luhmühlen has hosted the Europeans, having previously staged the Championships in 1975, 1979, 1987, 1999 and most recently in 2011. It also hosted the world championships in 1982. Luhmühlen was the fourth event in the world to become a four-star when it joined this elite group in 2005.

The 2019 Championships, will be particularly important on the international calendar as they will be a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Dates for the event will be announced shortly.

“Luhmühlen is a really wonderful venue and the organising team, headed by Julia Otto, has so much experience in hosting championships that we know they will provide the best possible facilities for the 2019 Europeans and will be a great follow-on from this week’s championships in Strzegom,” FEI Eventing & Olympic Director Catrin Norinder said.

“It’s an immense honour to host the next FEI European Eventing Championships and Luhmühlen team is looking forward to the challenge,” Luhmühlen event director Julia Otto said.

The 2017 European Eventing Championships that are currently underway at Strzegom in Poland feature the Irish team of Sarah Ennis, Joseph Murphy, Austin O’Connor and Michael Ryan, under team manager Sally Corscadden.

Ireland is missing one of its top combinations at Strzegom , Jonty Evans and Cooley Rorkes Drift. Evans launched a crowdfunding appeal in July to raise £500,000 so that the horse would not be sold to America and would stay with the Irish team.

Evans, who finished ninth in the Rio Olympics individual eventing competition last summer said last month: “We are about to be named for the Europeans squad and we are fairly sure that Cooley Rorkes Drift will be a medal contender.”

However, although the required sum has been raised, Evans made an unexpected announcement on the Horse Sport Ireland website during Dublin Horse Show week, revealing that the horse would not now be competing at the European Championships this year after all.

Jonty Evans and Cooley Rorkes Drift – missing from European team

“The physical issue of paying for him is complex and will not be completed in time,” Evans said last Saturday.

Team manager Sally Corscadden added: “It is inspiring to know that Jonty and Cooley Rorkes Drift are now secured for future teams and can aim for Tokyo. With this in mind we have agreed that the best course of action is for them not to travel to Poland, but to complete the deal to secure (the horse) and put in place a suitable plan to qualify for the World Equestrian Games in 2018.”

Confusingly for fans of Eventing, at the time of writing (Thursday) the website dedicated to the crowdfunding appeal still had its PayPal donation software active, even though the required amount has been raised.

Jack Burns