Heike Holstein 16th, Kate Dwyer 27th at Longines FEI European Dressage Championships

The 2019 Longines FEI European Dressage Championships got underway in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, this morning, with the Irish ‘Girls In Green’ hoping to achieve Olympic team qualification for the first time in history.

A total of 70 Dressage athletes from 24 countries will contest the medals with 15 nations fielding full teams.

Five European nations – Germany, Britain, Sweden, The Netherlands and Spain have already qualified for Tokyo 2020 following their performances at the 2018 World Equestrian Games.

With three places for Tokyo up for grabs for teams who have not yet qualified for the Olympics, Ireland are set to battle with Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Luxembourg and Portugal to clinch one of these spots.

Anna Merveldt, Judy Reynolds, Heike Holstein and Kate Dwyer hope to achieve Olympic qualification. Credit: Horse Sport Ireland.

The Grand Prix competition to decide the team medals and Olympic qualification places is spread over two days. Kate Dwyer riding Snowdon Faberge was the first Irish combination into the arena today, and they scored 66.180%, leaving them in 27th place overnight.

Heike Holstein with the Irish-bred Sambuca was next into action, and they achieved a score of 69.472%, good enough for 16th place, while the remaining two Irish riders, Anna Merveldt with Esporim and Judy Reynolds with Vancouver K, will compete on Tuesday.

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