Luhmühlen is under way with the first horse inspection finished. Just one combination had to re-present (Madiran du Liot and Geoffroy Soullez of France), then all horses were passed.
The two New Zealand riders, Andrew Nicholson (with Qwanza and Perfect Stranger) and Tim Price (Ringwood Skyboy) both looked good and must fancy their chances. Oliver Townend also has New Zealand-bred Black Tie in the four-star class.
The grounds are now being prepared for an incoming storm, and the media centre, a large marquee, has been evacuated with all now in the main building. Hopefully the storm passes without doing any damage.
The field is quite small this year, with just 30 starters, but there are some quality horses and riders lining up to take out the title.
Andrew will be the third competitor in the dressage arena on Qwanza; the only Kiwi riding on Thursday. Tim has drawn 25th, and Andrew follows shortly after in 29th slot on Perfect Stranger, with Black Tie the last horse in the field.
There is also a CIC3* class, and many of Germany’s Olympic hopefuls are lining up in this, including current World Champion Sandra Auffahrt, plus Ingrid Klimke and Andreas Ostholt.
Tomorrow and Friday is dressage of both classes, starting in the morning with the CIC*** followed in the afternoon by the CCI****.
Across the country
Of the cross-country track, German team coach Chris Bartle says: “The four-star course is a little bit stronger than in previous years; however, every question asked of horse and rider is clear. The Meßmer water complex is has a different look this year, making it very interesting, just as the Krüll Premium Cars Village. The CIC3* course is great for establishing young horses at this level, as well as giving the top horses a motivating and positive ride ahead of the Olympics.”
Hans Melzer, the German team manager agreed. “The cross-country looks fabulous! It is well designed and beautifully presented and the ground could not be better. The four-star is more technical than last year and the three-star is difficult enough, asking for concentration from horse and rider throughout. This, however, should be no problem for the top riders, giving them the chance to prove themselves before we select our team for Rio.”
Yogi Breisner, coach of the British team, also sang the cross-country’s praises. “The courses are brilliant! Captain Mark Phillips has done a tremendous job, designing this year’s courses beautifully and with great variation, while the ground could not be better!”
But first there is some dressage to do and we will bring you full coverage of the action as it unfolds. Meanwhile, let’s admire the uniforms…