Two Kiwi riders are in the top six after dressage in the CCI4* at Luhmühlen. Jesse Campbell is second on Cleveland, just 0.5pen behind the leader, Dutchman Tip Lipps on Bayro, while Jonelle Price and Faerie Dianimo are sixth equal, having scored 73.85% for a 27.1 penalty score.
Jesse is also in 12th spot with his second ride, Amsterdam 21, on 28.3pen, while Blyth Tait is in 20th place on Havanna, with a test scoring 69.25% earning him 30.8 penalties.
Jesse was understandably thrilled with his 11-year-old Dutch-bred gelding, who he admits can be a bit of a handful at times. “He’s like a wild animal sometimes, and sometimes I work him a bit too hard in the lead-up… so this week I tried to trust him as much as I could — that what I had done at home was good enough. I wanted him to be peaked physically when we got in the ring. I think we got it nearly spot on.”
The pair were in fact looking like taking first place until Cleveland fluffed the final flying change, which was late behind, and earned fours from all three judges – up until then their score sheet was solid 7s, 8s and 9s.
Australian Shane Rose is sitting third on CP Qualified, while Pippa Funnell is the best-placed Brit, fourth on Billy Beware. Emma McNab (AUS) is fifth, and Ros Canter (GBR) sixth equal with Jonelle, riding Zenshera.
Of course, with the recent removal of the co-efficient in the dressage phase, the scores are extremely tight, with a mere 6.7 penalties separating the top 20, so time is going to be crucial tomorrow over Mike Etherington-Smith’s cross-country track, and clear show jumping rounds essential on the final day.
Dressage leader Tim, who has never made the optimal time at Luhmühlen, admits that neither he nor his horse are the fastest, and says that the track is definitely tougher than in previous years.
“But all the questions are very clear. Every course I have ridden which was built by Mike has ridden particularly well, so I’m sure it’s not going to be any different this time.”
Jesse agrees: “You’ve got everything in there. The course is challenging but fair and with concentration and accurate riding, we should be able to produce a good round tomorrow.
“I think if you’re not careful, you can get sucked into the way the course is set up. In the middle part he puts in a lot of loops with not so many jumping efforts… you can lose time there.”
Meanwhile in the CIC3*, which is the German National Championshis and is a selection trial for the host nation’s WEG team, Julia Krajewski and Samourai du Thot posted a sensational score of 19.9 to take the lead after dressage, with Bettina Hoy second on Designer 10, and Ingrid Klimke third on SAP Hale Bob OLD.
The cross-country action kicks off overnight. Go Kiwis!