Luhmühlen dressage is done

New Zealand riders are sitting fifth and ninth after the dressage phase at the prestigious Luhmuhlen Horse Trials but the cross country is predicted to become very influential.

Tim Price on Ringwood Skyboy into 6th position after dressage. (Image: Libby Law)
Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy leave the dressage arena: they are now lying fifth (Image: Libby Law)

DHL presents CCI4*

Julia Krajewski (Germany) has taken the lead after a fantastic dressage test this afternoon on Samourai Du Thot. With just 39.00 penalties, she catapulted herself into first place, relegating Julien Despontin (Belgium) with Waldano (-40.20) into second and Emma Dougall (Australia) with Belcam Bear (-40.60) into third. Local hero Andreas Dibowski (Germany) and It’s Me XX are fourth with just 43.40 penalties.

Julia Krajewski on Samourai Du Thot leads the four-star class after dressage. (Image: Libby Law)
Julia Krajewski on Samourai Du Thot leads the four-star class after dressage. (Image: Libby Law)

New Zealand’s Tim Price is right up there too, in fifth place on a score of 44.6 with Ringwood Sky Boy. Andrew Nicholson completed his second dressage test, this time on Perfect Stranger. The wet weather and resulting sloshy ground was not to the horse’s liking and his owners described his test as “rather lacklustre.” His score of 54.7 puts him in 23rd position.  Andrew’s test from the first day on Qwanza has left him in 9th position (score of 46.3) at the conclusion of the first phase.

 

Andrew Nicholson and Perfect Stranger, not the test the pair are capable of. (Image: Libby Law)
Andrew Nicholson and Perfect Stranger, not the test the pair are capable of. (Image: Libby Law)

Dressage leader Julia Krajewski and Samourai du Thot were the only competitors to score under the magic 40 mark.  “I had planned to ride my test in lovely sunshine, instead we got rained on. Sam was brilliant though; in fact, I think the rain worked to our advantage, as he lifted his feet that little bit higher, making his trot work very strong. He was totally at ease with the atmosphere in front of the grandstand, which is why we were able to produce the test we did.”

The four-star event is their first attempt at this level and Julia is looking forward to tomorrow: “I am hoping to give Sam a good and safe round, as he is a very careful jumper, and I want him to feel confident. He is fit and we should be able to produce a solid round.”

Julia Krajewski on Samourai Du Thot didn't let the conditions upset their test. (Image: Thomas Ix)
Julia Krajewski and Samourai du Thot: the conditions didn’t upset their test (Image: Thomas Ix)

Just as the heavens seemed to open, Andreas Dibowski and It’s Me XX entered the arena and produced an expressive performance: “Itsy was in top form today! The rain came just at the right time. It didn’t have to be quite as much, but it kept the horrid horseflies away! Earlier in the day Itsy was so annoyed with the horseflies, that I was really concerned how this would affect his performance in the dressage arena. With the rain, the gelding was calm and focused, producing the test of his life!”

Bettina Hoy has withdrawn Seigneur Medicott after the horse escaped while being hand-grazed and fell over as he galloped back towards the stables. Bettina reports that he suffered some bruising and superficial cuts but “will be fine to fight another day.”

With only ten penalties separating the first 13 riders, we expect to see some leaderboard changes after the two jumping phases. From what riders are saying about it, the course appears to be more challenging than last year’s.

Riders’ views of the CCI**** cross-country course:

Julia Krajewski: “The course is definitely at four-star-level. Technically, every question is asked of horse and rider. However, all fences are fair and inviting. Riding clear lines and getting into a good rhythm will be important. The ground is perfect and I am hoping for a strong round tomorrow.”

Oliver Townend: “There are many positive challenges on this course. Due to the course looping a few times, I think the round will feel rather lengthy. Staying within the optimum time might be difficult but should be achievable.”

William Levett: “I am so happy the ground is looking so good. There are many corners and skinnies on the way, so concentration will be important tomorrow. I think staying within the optimum time will be a challenge due to the many turns along the way. The water complex is definitely four-star and requires precision and positive riding.”

Andreas Dibowski completing his test on Its Me (Image: Thomas Ix)
Andreas Dibowski and It’s Me: “the test of his life” (Image: Thomas Ix)

Andreas Dibowski: “The course has been designed to give even horses with little experience a positive round, which is what Luhmühlen stands for. All questions are clearly defined and the combinations have been set out to be variable, giving each rider plenty of options.”

Sandra Auffarth on Opgun Louvo. (Image: Thomas Ix)
Sandra Auffarth on Opgun Louvo. (Image: Thomas Ix)

CIC3* Meßmer Trophy

Sandra Auffahrt (Germany) and Opgun Louvo have taken the lead after a strong performance, which was rewarded with just 32.70 penalties, leaving Andrew Hoy (Australia) and Cheeky Calimbo (-35.30) in second and Ingrid Klimke (Germany) with Horseware Hale Bob OLD (-36.60) third. Five combinations scored under 40 in this section, the other two being Tim Lips (Bayro NOP) and Bettina Hoy on Designer 10.

World Champion Sandra Auffarth on Opgun Louvo leads the CIC3* Meßmer Trophy after dressage. (Image: Libby Law)
World Champion Sandra Auffarth on Opgun Louvo leads the CIC3* Meßmer Trophy after dressage (Image: Libby Law)

Sandra Auffahrt and Opgun Louvo had a great start to their premier in a German Championship: “He was exceptional today. He was concentrating throughout the test, working with me all the way. I think he feels at ease here in Luhmühlen and he enjoyed the test as much as I did.” The pair has taken part in many Championships before, but never had the opportunity to compete in the nationals together.

Ingrid Klimke on the lovely Horseware Hale Bob OLD, into third in the three-star class. (Image: Libby Law)
Ingrid Klimke on the lovely Horseware Hale Bob OLD, into third in the three-star class (Image: Libby Law)

Horseware Hale Bob OLD lit up Ingrid Klimke’s face: “He was unbelievable today! Especially his trot work was fantastic. He was very expressive and I was able to really go for it – he gave me all I asked of him. The whole test was so enjoyable.”

First impressions of the CIC*** Meßmer Trophy cross-country course:

Sandra Auffahrt: “The course is beautifully built. All fences are inviting, asking all the questions a challenging cross-country course at this level needs. At the same time, there is plenty galloping in between.”

Anna Siemer: “I am really excited about riding the cross-country. I feel honoured to be here in Luhmühlen again, it’s always a pleasure. The course needs to be ridden with concentration and focus all the way.”

Maxime Livio on Qalao Desmers from France are in sixth place in the four-star. (Image: Libby Law)
Maxime Livio and Qalao Desmers from France are in sixth place in the four-star (Image: Libby Law)