Luhmühlen lift-off

No dramas at the first trot up and the two Kiwi boys looked good, as did the men in uniforms.

It's Perfect Stranger's first four star but Andrew Nicholson has done a few. We predict they should go well. (Image: Libby Law)
It’s Perfect Stranger’s first four-star but Andrew Nicholson has done a few. We predict they should go well. (Image: Libby Law)

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.

RIngwood Skyboy looks good for Tim Price at the first horse inspection. (Image: Libby Law)
Ringwood Skyboy looks good for Tim Price at the first horse inspection (Image: Libby Law)

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.

Bettina Hoy with Seigneu Medicott. Love that belt buckle! (Image: Libby Law)
Bettina Hoy and Seigneur Medicott are starting in the four-star class. Love that belt buckle! (Image: Libby Law)

Tomorrow and Friday is dressage of both classes, starting in the morning with the CIC*** followed in the afternoon by the CCI****.

Julia Krajewski (Germany) & Samourai du Thot (Image: Thomas Ix)
Julia Krajewski (Germany) & Samourai du Thot (Image: Thomas Ix)

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.”

Andrew Nicholson with Qwanza fly through the first horse inspection at Luhmuhlen. (Image: Libby Law)
Andrew Nicholson and Qwanza fly through the first horse inspection at Luhmuhlen. (Image: Libby Law)

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…

Love a man in uniform? Check out this Frenchman then. Arnaud Boiteau with Quoriano Ene HN at the first trot up at Luhmuhlen. (Image: Libby Law)
Love a man in uniform? Check out this Frenchman, then. Arnaud Boiteau with Quoriano Ene HN at the first Luhmuhlen trot-up (Image: Libby Law)
An Italian in uniform for you; Pietro Sandei with Mouse (Image: Libby Law)
An Italian in uniform for you: Pietro Sandei with Mouse (Image: Libby Law)