Luhmühlen, Germany—June 18—Laura Collett was disappointed to miss her chance to defend her 2022 Badminton Horse Trials title this spring when London 52 had a heel grab a few weeks before, so she decided to reroute to the Longines Luhmühlen CCI5*-L.
After crossing the finish timers in today’s show jumping with a clear round, Collett sealed the win and confirmed she’d made the right decision for her longtime partner.
“With him, in particular, everything’s just fallen into place [this spring]. It’s almost like he saw the weather forecast at Badminton and decided maybe we’d try and win a different five-star instead,” she said with a smile. “He came in the arena today and did what he does best and showed everyone what a class horse he is. I’m super lucky and privileged I get to be the rider that sits on him,” she said. “I haven’t had the best of times at Luhmühlen before, so it’s nice to put some demons to bed, and we’ll definitely be back.”
Collet said she feels that the 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Landos x Quinar Z), who’s owned by Keith Scott and Karen Bartlett, knows when competitions really matter and steps up to the plate.
“It’s almost the more I ride like there’s a lot of pressure on him, he seems to realize he needs to jump a bit higher, which is lucky what he decided to do today. He’s my horse of a lifetime, and I will never sit on another horse like him,” she said.
Coming into today’s show jumping, the pair had a rail and a bit of time in hand, but they didn’t need it. They were one of five double-clear rounds of the 29 starters.
Collett led the event from start to finish, and ended on her dressage score of 20.3.
“It’s taken a good few years to really cement the partnership I have with him, and I think the reason I’m so proud of him is because I know he’s not a natural cross-country horse,” she said. “He’s had to learn to be a cross-country horse, and the way he stormed around that track yesterday making it feel so easy is what makes me so unbelievably proud and why I do it. I love building a partnership with the horses. When they come out and reward you like that after years of trying to get it right, it’s just an unbelievable feeling.”
Kitty King had no fences in hand when she came into the ring on Vendredi Biats, a 14-year-old Selle Français gelding (Winningmood x Liane Normande) owned by Diane Brown, Sally Lloyd Baker, Sally Eyre, and Samantha Wilson.
She added .4 time penalties though, and was able to hold on to her second place.
“Today I felt the least pressure I’ve ever felt with him in the show jumping arena,” she said. “He felt really great in the warmup arena, so that really helped. I know what a good jumper he is, and to be honest, we’ve had such rotten luck lately, I thought, no more could go wrong and what will be will be here. We just went and enjoyed our round, and he felt like he was on springs. He’s such a game jumper, and he loves it. He lives for jumping.”
“Froggy” has a bit of a checkered history according to King. “He was very naughty and used to buck people off all the time, so he moved around the quite a few yards until I got him as a 5-year-old,” she said. “He’s just a clown and a comedian. He loves to have jokes on you, and he loves to be kept busy. Cross-country he’s just adores. He had a blast yesterday.”
The 2022 FEI World Eventing champion Yasmin Ingham maintained her third place with Rehy DJ, a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Tinarana’s Inspector x Rehy Misty) owned by The Sue Davies Fund, even though they added .4 time penalties.
She’s had the gelding since she was a young rider, and they’ve come up the levels together.
“I have a lot of trust in ‘Piglet,’ and he’s usually a very good jumper,” she said. “I’ve known him for a long time now, so we have a great partnership. It’s probably his strongest phase, so it was a pleasure to go in that arena and jump in front of the crowds and try and do our best for his owners and my team.”
Boyd Martin finished both of his five-star first timers in the top 10.
Luke 140, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Landos x Omega VI) owned by the Luke 140 Syndicate, finished fourth with a classy clear, and the Annie Goodwin Syndicate’s Fedarman B, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Eurocommerce Washington x Paulien B) had one rail down to finish eighth.
Christine Turner, Thomas Turner, and Tommie Turner’s Tsetserleg TSF (Windfall 2 x Thabana) had one rail down and 1.2 time penalties to finish 25th.
“Luhmuhlen’s been on my radar for Luke and Bruno for a long time, and I really felt that this would be the perfect first five-star for them,” he said. “They’re green horses, and I was thrilled with the way they went. They were really challenged yesterday, and stood up to the test, and then came out today and jumped really well. I think I’m going to have a really good run at the top level of the sport for many years with these two. They’re both quality animals, and I love riding them. They really enjoy the competitions.”
Tsetserleg TSF, or “Thomas,” is not always the strongest show jumper on the final day, so Martin was happy to just have one rail over a tough course. “With Thomas, I was thrilled because we’ve had many more rails on much easier courses,” he said. “I was very grateful that Peter Wylde came over and gave him a different warm up. We gave him his warmup for the jumping this morning at 9:30 and then just did a couple of fences before we went in, and it seemed to work, because sometimes he can get a bit nervous and worried with all the other horses.”
Sydney Elliott had two rails and 1.6 time penalties to finish 17th with Carol Stephens’ 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Diarado x Lantana) QC Diamantaire. Katherine Coleman and her own RLE Limbo Kaiser, a 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Abdullah xx x An Cailinn Donn) had two rails and 1.6 time penalties to finish 29th.
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Registration for the 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention is now open! Join the USEA in St. Louis, Missouri, this Dec. 7-10 for a weekend of mingling with fellow enthusiastic eventers to partake in discussions about the future of the sport. This year’s event will include a keynote address by Dr. Temple Grandin, a world-renowned scientist and author, a celebration of champions at the Annual Awards Dinner, and more! The city of St. Louis also has so many opportunities to sight-see and explore.
The second and final day of competition at the 2023 USEF/USEA Developing Horse Eventing National Championships was all about precision as the 6-year-old CCI2*-S Championship competitors tackled both jumping phases and the 7-year-old CCI3*-S Championship pairs conquered Mogie Bearden-Muller’s cross-country track at Stable View in Aiken, South Carolina.
Equine Network is thrilled to have the support of the United States Eventing Association (USEA) for the third annual Horse Week event brought to you by Boehringer Ingelheim.
It was a busy day at Stable View Oktoberfest in Aiken, South Carolina as all FEI divisions and a few national divisions kicked off their competition weekend, including the 2023 USEF/USEA Developing Horse Eventing National Championships. Both the 6-year-olds and 7-year-olds got their chance to shine down the centerline at the start of the day, with the 7-year-olds also giving their best effort across Michael Vallaincourt’s show jumping track later this afternoon.