Five-star season is well underway and four U.S.-based pairs have turned their focus toward the CCI5*-L at the Longines Luhmühlen Horse Trials which takes place June 16-19 in Salzhausen, Germany. We caught up with each rider to get their thoughts on their decision to make the trek overseas and what they hope their horses glean from the experience.
U.S. Based Canadian Rider Karl Slezak and Fernhill Wishes
Slezak and the 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Fernhill Wishes (Chacoa x KEC Galway Bay) who Slezak co-owns with Kirk Hoppner rerouted to Luhmühlen following retiring on cross-country at the five-star at Badminton earlier in May.
U.S. Rider Matt Flynn and Wizzerd
Also hoping to have a better outing overseas at the five-star level are Matthew Flynn and A. Patrick and Kathleen Flynn and Merry Go Round Farm's 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Wizzerd. The duo had two refusals on the five-star cross-country course at Badminton, leading to Flynn's decision to save the horse for another day.
"Wizzerd is in prime condition, and I am looking forward to getting back out and getting another five-star under our belt at Luhmuhlen," shared Flynn. "I have heard amazing things about the venue and I am excited for the opportunity."
U.S. Rider Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver
Coming off of a first-place finish in the CCI4*-S at the 2022 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event isn't a bad way to go into your first five-star of the year, and that is exactly what Liz Halliday-Sharp is doing with The Monster Partnership's 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Cooley Quicksilver.
"Since last year, the plan has always been to take Cooley Quicksilver to Luhmühlen," Halliday-Sharp said. "For these young horses, I really like to have a plan and stick to it. I really felt like Luhmühlen would suit him. I have a lot of hard pullers and he is not a hard puller at all. He is very nippy and efficient and Luhmühlen has a track that is a lot through the trees and a lot of wiggling around that can sort of turn and surprise the horses. He has always been quite game like that. He learned a lot at Pau, it was a tough five-star last year. Luhmühlen is a track where I think he can hopefully make the time, whereas Kentucky, Burghley, and Badminton are big, bold galloping tracks. I think Luhmühlen is more technical and twisty which is a good fit for him."
U.S. Rider Lauren Nicholson and Vermiculus
Lauren Nicholson has taken it easy with Jacqueline Mars' 15-year-old Anglo Arabian gelding Vermiculus (Serazim x Wake Me Gently) since their 12th place finish at the 2021 Maryland 5 Star last October. The horse has had one full outing at the Intermediate level, which he won, at Rocking Horse in Ocala, Florida this March, and then withdrew following dressage at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in preparation for their trip to Germany.
"I’m very excited to take Bug to Luhmühlen, it will be my first time competing at the venue but I have been told it’s an incredible event," shared Nicholson. "I’m so lucky to have Ms. Mars's wisdom and support, when I had to make a decision to go to Plan B with Bug's spring plan she 100% had my back. We are heading over to be competitive and Bug is ready to roll."
In addition to these four five-star pairs, U.S. rider Will Coleman is slated to compete in the CCI4*-S also taking place at Luhmühlen aboard Hyperion Stud's 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding Chin Tonic (Chin Champ x Wildera).
Access the full entry list here.
In the final USEA Classic Series event of 2022, three horse and rider pairs rode their way to the top of the podium in the Training, Novice, and Beginner Novice 3-Day divisions offered during the Ram Tap Horse Park Horse Trials which took place November 18-20 in Fresno, California.
US Equestrian opened a bid process for one event to host the Advanced level in Area 3 on Week 10 for 2023-2027 due to an event cancellation. The bid process was conducted in accordance with the 2023-2027 U.S. Eventing Calendar CCI4*-L, CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, & Advanced Policies and Procedures. The USEF Eventing Strategic Calendar Review Task Force made recommendations to the USEF Eventing Sport Committee who made recommendations for final approval by the USEF Board of Directors.
Concluding the 2022 Area Championships season was the Area X Championships held during the SAzEA H.T. which took place November 19-20 in Tucson, Arizona. Three Championship divisions were offered, allowing three horse and rider pairs the opportunity to conclude their 2022 eventing season by being crowned champion!
“The highest priority must be given by instructors to developing in their riders a correct, balanced, supple, effective, and independent seat for dressage and for jumping.” - “Teaching Principles” in the new ECP Eventing Handbook by the Levels