Ingrid Klimke with Horseware Hale Bob OLD, Michael Jung with La Biosthetique-Sam FBW, Sandra Auffarth with Opgun Louvo – the German dream team – along with new team member Josefa Sommer and her own-bred and own-trained Hamilton, claimed victory in the FEI Nations Cup™ competition in the CICO3* at Aachen this past weekend. The newcomers fulfilled all expectations in their first team appearance for Germany at the Aachen Soers. “It is incredible to be here with these three heroes!”, was Sommer's concise and eloquent summary on the podium at the press conference. Sommer and Hamilton jumping clear on cross-country, picking up a few time faults. “Josefa was our pathfinder and she did a super job!” said national coach Hans Melzer, praising the new team member.
With an overall score of 107.00, the German team held a significant lead ahead of last year’s winners from Australia, who finished on a total score of 152.60. Shane Rose, who placed third individually with the Holsteiner gelding CP Qualified, said on behalf of his team, “It is no defeat, coming second behind the German team. This team has been almost unbeatable for years. I am delighted and grateful that we are able to ride here in Aachen. The conditions, how we are looked after, I wish there were more shows like this in the world.” His fellow team members were Christopher Burton with Nobilis, who finished 6th on 40.60, Katja Weimann with BP Cosmopolitan, who were 22nd on 74.50, and Emma McNab with Fernhill Tabasco, who came 28th on 85.40.
Third place went to Sweden on a total score of 160.60. The team consisted of only three riders, so there was no drop score for their team, but they didn’t need one. The 2012 Olympic silver-medallist from London, Sara Algotsson Ostholt, came eleventh with Reality on 47.80, directly ahead of her team colleague Louise Svensson Jähde with Wieloch‘s Utah Sun on 48.20, and Niklas Lindbäck and Focus Filiocus finished 20th on 64.60.
The Master of Riding, Ingrid Klimke, has won at Aachen twice in her career. Klimke's World Champion horse SAP Escada FRH, her partner for the win in 2015, retired from active competition a few months ago and is now taking on her new tasks as a brood mare, and Horseware Hale Bob OLD, otherwise known as Bobby, is Klimke's number one. After a good dressage test for a score of 34.50, Bobby made sure that no faults were added to the score in the jumping or cross-country and thus secured Klimke the victory.
Only two tenths of a point separated the 3-time Olympic gold-medallist Michael Jung with La Biosthetique-Sam FBW and the winning pair. The course had been a major topic of conversation beforehand. “It’s like a Championship course! It is going to be difficult to stay under the time," said Melzer. In retrospect, he explained, “The conditions were top, the footing super! So one can ride a little faster without risking injuries.”
“I didn’t find the cross-country course more difficult than in the past years," said Jung. "The fact that the start had been changed, one could canter away faster and was able to get into a good rhythm faster.” Klimke, who rode last and thus had to wait alone in the warm-up before leaving the start box, confirmed, “Bobby wanted to take off straight after Sam and set off at such a pace at the beginning that we were much faster than I’d planned at first. But we did a lot of canter training at home in preparation, so we had plenty of energy towards the end and succeeded in reaching the finish safely.”
"The course was built so that the horses gained more and more confidence the better one rode. And the difficult tasks then became no problem at all," commented Rose.
Hannah Sue Burnett and RF Demeter were the sole pair to complete the weekend for the United States, adding 3.2 cross-country time faults to their dressage score of 39.3 to finish in 7th place.