With the first horse inspection, the 60th Luhmühlen Horse Trials got under way in Germany. All horses presented to the jury and vets were in top form, with many proving quite a handful for their riders. One of these was Tim Rusbridge’s Oneforthenotebook, who nearly took out the ground jury – but they forgave him and he passed. This is the first four-star class for the horse and only the second for 39-year-old Tim, who last competed at this level at Burghley back in 2005 on The Verdict, finishing 40th.
Forty-eight horses were shown for the initial trot-up. Denis Mesples’ Oregon de la Vigne (FRA) and Kirsty Short’s Cossan Lad (GBR) were kept in the holding box but were passed when re-presented.
The entries for the CCI**** promise an interesting event. This year’s Badminton winner Andrew Nicholson and last year’s Luhmühlen winner Andreas Dibowski (GER) are among many other top riders.
Andrew will be riding the 11-year-old gelding Teseo, also on debut at this level. Andrew finished second in the CCI3* at Blenheim last year on this Spanish-bred gelding.
Caroline Powell has Sinatra Frank Baby there for his first four-star start, as well as Spice Sensation, an 11-year-old Irish-bred mare who competed at Pau last year and finished 26th, after jumping a clear cross-country with time faults.
Caroline and Spice Sensation will be the first combination to go, Tim 11th and Andrew 44th, then Caroline and Sinatra Frank Baby will be the last out.
The CIC*** Meßmer Trophy, where German competitors ride for the National Championship, is going to be exciting too: Germany’s extraordinary Michael Jung is riding fischerRocana FST; reigning World and German Champion Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo are taking part, as well as Ingrid Klimke and Horseware Hale Bob OLD.
New Zealand doesn’t have any competitors in the three-star class, but there are three Australian women entered: Isabel English on Feldale Mouse, Katja Weimann on BP Escapade and Emma McNab on Fernhill Tabasco. Katja also has BP Flamboyant in the four-star, where she is joined by Shane Rose on Virgil. Nicola Wilson will ride Bulana (who was produced by Lizzie Green) in the mare’s first four-star, and New Zealand thoroughbred Black Tie will be competing, ridden by Oliver Townend. Black Tie is owned by Oliver’s business manager, New Zealander Karen Shuter.
Luhmühlen’s patron, HRH The Princess Royal Princess Anne will attend the event and Mike Etherington-Smith is the new cross country course designer.
Libby Law has flown straight from New Zealand to Germany for the event, and it is great to have her back in Europe following the premium competitions for us.