The spectators at Malmö (SWE) burst into noisy celebrations as Michael Jung (GER) produced yet another brilliant piece of riding to retain his individual title at the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships and lead his German team mates to a second consecutive gold medal.

“I feel wonderful,” said Jung simply. “And the best thing is that I have a truly great horse for the future.”

The Germans arrived at Malmö (SWE) as clear favourites and they more than justified it, showing fantastic horsemanship over the four days of competition to win team gold by 20 penalties from the host nation, Sweden.

France took team bronze, with Nicolas Touzaint their highest placed rider in 11th place on the stallion Lesbos.

Ingrid Klimke (GER), one of the most delightful personalities in Eventing, was a popular winner of the individual silver medal and William Fox-Pitt salvaged British pride with individual bronze on the handsome stallion Chilli Morning.

Jung had already set a new record when he became the first rider to hold Olympic, World and European Championship titles simultaneously. And today he set another standard by becoming the first rider to win four individual gold medals in succession.

His mount, the magnificent black gelding Halunke, owned by Siegried Brietmayer, Anette Schmid and Hung’s parents, Joachim and Brigitte, is the first nine-year-old to win the title since Nicolas Touzaint’s Galan de Sauvagere in 2003.

The pair’s faultless performance in the first two phases ensured Jung had a generous margin to win, but there was a nervous moment when Halunke hit the first rail in the Jumping arena before going on to leave the rest of the fences up.

“He was a little bit too forward at the first fence and I was a little bit nervous after that, but I knew I had to close him up a bit more and then it works better,” said Jung. “But all the team did an incredible job.”

Ingrid Klimke laughed that it was a pleasant surprise for her to move up the leader board on the final day, a reference to her former team horse FRH Butts Abraxxas’s difficulties with the final Jumping phase. This time she finished on her Dressage score of 39.4 on new ride FRH Escada JS, a nine-year-old mare bred on Jumping bloodlines by Embassy.

“I’m very proud and happy with my fantastic horse,” said Klimke. “Our aim as a team was to get in front right from the start and to stay there. We really wanted to win this European Championships. It’s not that we expect it, it’s not that we’re laid back and think it’s a present we get every year, we work hard for it. We have very good trainers, and we all work together as a team, and that’s why we are unbeatable!”

William Fox-Pitt joked that he was resigned to having to wait a little longer for his first individual title. “There has been a bit of banter in the British camp because both my friends, Pippa [Funnell] and Tina [Cook] have won the title before. I guess I’ll just have to keep trying. I’m really delighted to get a medal at all and thrilled with my horse.

“It’s the first time we’ve not won a (team) medal for 20 years, and we’re not used to it, but it’s been a fantastic week and it’s shown the sport in a great light.”

One of the best results of the Championships was the team silver for Sweden, their first team medal since bronze in 1997. Their chances of individual medals sadly evaporated when Ludwig Svennerstal hit two fences on Shamwari, but the overall team performance shows that the nation is really on its way up after fourth place at the London Olympic Games last year.

“We’re very excited,” said Niklas Lindback, who finished fourth on his Dressage score with Mister Pooh. “Fourth place isn’t the most fun place, admittedly, but I couldn’t have done any more. I hope Sweden can now build on this, because we have worked so hard to prepare for the Championships.”

Malmö’s Sport Director Per Magnussen (SWE) commented: “We fought very hard for Sweden to win the right to hold a European Championship and it’s been great for a small country [in Eventing] to get the chance to show what we can do. It’s going to be great for the sport in Sweden.”

About the medallists

Individual gold
Michael Jung (GER), 31, has set new standards in Eventing with his natural talent and attention to detail. He is the first rider in history to hold Olympic, World and European titles simultaneously and the first to win four championship titles consecutively. He first came to prominence in 2009, when he won the Luhmühlen CCI4*, the FEI World Cup™ Eventing final in Strzegom (POL) and an individual European bronze medal in Fontainebleau (FRA), all on La Biosthetique Sam. The pair went on to win the world title in Kentucky (USA) in 2010, double European gold in Luhmühlen in 2011 and double Olympic gold in London (GBR) in 2012. This year they were second at Badminton CCI4* at their first attempt. Jung lives at Horb, Germany, where his family owns a riding establishment.

Individual silver
Ingrid Klimke (GER), 45, is Germany’s most successful female event rider. She has now won five Eventing team gold medals: two at Olympic level (2008 and 2012 on FRH Butts Abraxxas), one World (2006 on Sleep Late) and two European (2011 and 2013), as well as European team bronze and individual silver on Sleep Late in 2005. She was the runner-up at Badminton CCI4* in 2004 on Sleep Late and at Luhmuhlen CCI4* in 2010 on FRH Butts Abraxxas. Klimke, who was only the second woman to be awarded the title of Riding Master, lives in Munster, Germany. Her late father, Dr Reiner Klimke, was one of the nation’s most successful Dressage riders. She is married to Andreas and has two daughters, Greta and Philippa.

Individual bronze
William Fox-Pitt (GBR), 44, has won a record 51 CCIs and has been world number one in the FEI Eventing rankings, but has yet to win an individual title. He has ridden for the senior British team 16 times in the last 20 years, winning three Olympic team medals (two silvers and a bronze), three World team medals (gold, silver and bronze), plus six European team golds and one bronze. This is his fourth individual medal, following World silver in 2010 and European individual silvers in 1997 and 2005. Fox-Pitt has won 11 CCI4*s, including Burghley a record six times, and is the only rider to have won five out of the world’s six CCI4*s. He lives near Sturminster Newton, Dorset, with his wife Alice, a television presenter for racing, and their three young children Oliver, Thomas and Chloe.

Individual Results

1 Michael Jung/Halunke FBW (GER) 28.6 + 0 + 4 = 32.6
2 Ingrid Klimke/FRH Escada JS (GER) 39.4 + 0 + 0 = 39.4
3 William Fox-Pitt/Chilli Morning (GBR) 36.6 + 0 + 4 = 40.6
4 Niklas Lindback/Mister Pooh (SWE), 42.0 + 0 + 0 = 42.0
5 Peter Thomsen/Horseware’s Cayenne (GER)* 40.6 + 2 + 0 = 42.6
6 Dirk Schrade/Hop and Skip (GER) 44.2 + 0 + 0 = 44.2
7 Tim Lips/Keyflow (NED) 41.0 + 3.2 + 0 = 44.2
8 Vittoria Panizzon/Borough Pennyz (ITA) 44.4 + 0 + 0 = 44.4
9 Frida Andersen/Herta (SWE) 46.0 + 0 + 0 = 46.0
10 Ludwig Svennerstal/Shamwari 4 (SWE) 37.6 + 0.4 + 8 = 46.0
*denotes individual rider

Team Results

1 Germany, 116.2
2 Sweden, 134.0
3 France, 151.6
4 Italy, 167.0
5 Belgium, 179.2
6 Great Britain, 180.6
7 Ireland, 234.4
9 Switzerland, 267.6
9 Netherlands, 1,120
10 Belarus, 2,106.6

Full results here.