The 2017 European Eventing Championship is currently underway in Poland after a successful opening ceremony at the Wroław Centennial Hall Tuesday and the first horse inspections on Wednesday. This biennial competition that has been held every two years since 1953, but this is the first time it will be held at Strzegom. The location for the event is the Stragona Equestrian Center - a well-equipped venue that has hosted multiple Nations Cup competitions among other international events.
"The first thing that strikes you when you get to Strzegom is the vast amount of time and effort that Marcin Konarski and his team have put into the location and the course. There is an incredible attention to detail." said Peter Morris, the press officer of the Europeans. "This is my first event in Poland but I am very impressed."
The Stragona Equestrian Center itself is in Morawa, a small village 4 km (2 mi) east of Strzegom. This modern facility spreads across 60 hectares of land and boasts multiple training and competition arenas along with a veterinary clinic, tack shop, a mini zoo, and two stables. The cross-country course features two beautifully redesigned water features and tent stables capable of housing 150 horses. The focus of the Stragona Equestrian Center has been to train and develop children and junior riders and has a very active riding club where the children, along with adults, can advance their skill. The many features of Stragona make it an attractive venue for international riders to visit and train.
In addition to training and competition, the Stragona Equestrian Center provides horseback tours, carriage/sleigh rides, pony rides, riding vacations, pleasure and sport riding camps for children and teenagers, and educational programs for schools and kindergartens.
The nearby town of Strzegom is located in a south-west region of Poland known as Lower Silesia. This town has a long history leading back to the 10th century. During the Middle Ages it was a fortified settlement and was first mentioned in a feed by Pope Hadrian IV in 1155. During the 30 Years' War it was almost completely destroyed. Granite quarries spurred considerable economic expansion during the 1800s and today it is known as the Granite Capital of Poland. Granite from Strzegom has been used in the construction of the Central Railway Station in Warsaw, Cologne Cathedral Square and Hague House of Justice.
Due to the long history of this region there are many historical structures nearby. The Minor Basilica of Strzegom was completed around 1530 and was built in place of an older church. The historical Morawa Palace is located close to the Stragona Equestrian Centre and is surrounded by an impressive 12 hectare park. This building, dating from 1864, now houses the Saint Hedwig Foundation which runs a kindergarten and educational centre.
Horses have also been part of the areas long history. The Strzegom Horse Stud was founded in the mid-1950s to specialize in breeding Thoroughbreds and the Silesian Horse. There are a number of equestrian centres for both breeding and training located nearby.
The European Eventing Championship continues with dressage on Thursday and Friday, Cross Country on Saturday, and a second horse inspection and show jumping on Sunday. A closing ceremony and medal presentation will be held Sunday afternoon.