After the first day’s dressage at Luhmühlen, an American heads the four-star field, but horses with New Zealand connections are second and third!
The last rider of the day, Marilyn Little on RF Scandalous, took the lead with a great score of 38.00 ahead of two British riders, Nicola Wilson with Bulana (38.70) and Oliver Townend with Black Tie (43.00).
New Zealand’s Caroline Powell was the first rider into the arena and scored 56.6 on Spice Sensation, which puts her in 18th position. Caroline rides Sinatra Frank Baby tomorrow, and will be the last rider out. Andrew Nicholson also rides Teseo tomorrow.
Tim Rusbridge scored 62.2 on Oneforthenotebook at the horse’s first start at four-star level, leaving him in 22nd position after day one.
Marilyn Little was very happy with the way her mare went. “I am incredibly lucky to have a horse like her. It’s my second time here in Luhmühlen and I am very happy to be here with Scandalous. She is truly the best partner I could wish for. This is her first event at four-star-level and I am particularly looking forward to Saturday. She is clever, brave and extremely careful. The course looks super. It’s big, yet very fair. There are some technical questions, but I believe even young horses have a good chance at answering them.”
British rider Nicola Wilson was equally happy with her mare Bulana, who was produced by Lizzie Green. It is Bulana’s first competition at four-star-level. “I cannot praise her enough. She is getting better and better, becoming more confident each time. The course is definitely challenging enough, but I think everything looks very fair. I am looking forward to Saturday.”
Oliver Townend lies only a few points behind the two women, riding the New Zealand thoroughbred Black Tie. “I couldn’t be more satisfied with our result,” Oliver says. “Dressage is not his strong point, but with every test he is improving. The course is lovely, but I also think there are a few questions which might pose risks for run-outs. However, this is not the biggest four-star-course, which is why I think we should see plenty of good results.”
Australian pair Shane Rose and Virgil are currently seventh on 48.7.
As widely predicted, Bettina Hoy and her 11-year-old gelding Seigneur Medicott took the lead in this class, delivering an outstanding test and scoring a fantastic 26.30.
Ingrid Klimke and Horseware Hale Bob OLD are second on 31.30 penalties, with Michael Jung on Star Connection and Julia Krajewski on Chipmunk FRH sharing third, both with scores of 35.60.
Bettina is elated: “I hoped we would do a good test today. The gelding has been in top form all season and won the past three international events at this level. We did what we could today, now we need to do the same on Saturday and Sunday. The competition is strong, especially from my German team mates, though I find this really motivating – it’s what makes our sport exciting and so fascinating.”
Australians Isabel English (Feldale Mouse) and Katja Weimann (BP Escapade) both scored 49.5 to lie 16th equal.
Thoughts on the cross-country course
The riders had looked forward to seeing Mike Etherington Smith’s course in his first year as designer, and Germany’s Hans Melzer says: “Everything has been built beautifully, with some big jumps, which should not be underestimated. Mike Etherington-Smith has created something very different, which has been positively received.”
Andreas Ostholt: “This course is lovely with plenty of questions. Everything is presented beautifully and I think there will be lots of happy faces at the finish on Saturday.”
Tomorrow sees the final day of dressage, with cross-country on Saturday and show jumping on Sunday (German time). Further information and start lists and results: www.luhmuehlen.de