At the FEI Nations’ Cup in Aachen, the German riders left no-one in doubt about their intentions at next month’s FEI European Championships.
Leading rider Ingrid Klimke, who is having the best season of her career so far, led the experienced German team to an assured victory in the fifth leg of the FEI Nations Cup on home ground in Aachen. Klimke not only won the event with her 2013 European-silver-medal partner and this year’s Luhmuhlen winner Escada JS, but for good measure was second with Horseware Hale Bob, with whom she was also second at Badminton this year. It was a first victory at the event for Klimke, who has competed here every year since 2005.
Her team mates, World Champions Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo and Olympic Champion Michael Jung with Fischertakinou, finished third and fifth respectively. British-based New Zealander Tim Price split the two champions taking fourth place with his Luhmuhlen-2014 winner Wesko. The New Zealand team, which included Tim’s wife, Jonelle Price, and leading veteran Sir Mark Todd, who together were competing in their first Nations Cup, finished second, while team USA, also contesting the Nations Cup for the first time, finished third.
After dressage, the German team held a strong lead, although British rider Holly Woodhead, a member of last year’s British silver-medal Young Rider team and daughter of dressage trainers Ian and Tracey Woodhead, put in an impressive performance with DHI Lupison on her Nations Cup debut to be just a few marks adrift of Klimke. She then rose to individual second place after a clear round over the coloured poles and put the British team in a close third place at that stage.
It was not to be, however, and it all fell apart for the Brits on cross-country, when the British team was eliminated. Already one man down, as Flora Harris and her Bramham winner Bayano retired, Woodhead was then, after video footage, declared to have jumped the wrong side of a flag at the corner in the water, which later proved to be the bogey fence; Jock Paget was unseated from Clifton Lush here.
While the final result was tough, on Woodhead in particular, the British team still has a commanding overall lead on the Nations Cup leader board, having contested all five competitions so far.
The next FEI Nations Cup takes place at Montelibretti, in Italy, from September 17 to 20 — the same weekend as the Blenheim International Horse Trials.
See the full results of the FEi Nations’ Cup on the FEI Nations Cup results.
FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing 2015 Leaderboard (5/8 events)
1. Great Britain, 47 points
2. Germany, 29
3. Australia, 28
4. France, 27
5. Netherlands, 21
6. Ireland, 15
7. Sweden, 10
8. New Zealand, 9
Young Brits win bronze
A long haul to Bialy Bor in Poland resulted in team bronze for the British team at the FEI Junior European Championships.
German riders topped the final leader board and claimed three of the six medals on offer, winning team gold while team members Johanna Zantop (Santana’s Boy) and Hanna Knuppel (Carismo 22) claimed individual gold and bronze respectively, leading the team to a huge winning margin of almost 30 penalties.
Zantop’s leading dressage score allowed the young German enough breathing space for her 2.8 time penalties, as well as a pole down in the showjumping, especially when her nearest rival after the first phase, British team rider Sam Ecroyd, was eliminated after a fall midway round the cross country course.
This put more pressure on the remaining three British riders, Alex Kennedy (Chocolate Domino), Charlotte Bacon (Sannavalley Justice) and Charlotte East (Clear Dawn), who nonetheless kept their heads down and ended an influential cross country day in the silver-medal position.
On the final day, the French riders proved the better jumpers and moved ahead to take team silver, with Victor Levecque (Phunambule des Auges) taking the individual silver on his junior team debut. However, the 16-year-old from Montfort l‘Amaury, just to the west of Paris, is no stranger to the podium; he is the current French Junior Champion, was last year’s individual- and team-gold medallist at the Pony Europeans in Millstreet and this year won the CCI1* in Fontainebleau — a name to watch for in the future perhaps?
British riders were delighted to claim the team bronze in what had been a competition of highs and lows for the 18 teams contesting the event.
British individual Alex Tordoff (18) from Leicestershire was the highest placed in fifth place — and just the rolled pole away from the bronze medal — with his own Emill, an 11-year-old gelding by the jumping stallion Unbelievable Darco, while team member Kennedy and Chocolate Domino, who finished with a double clear, were seventh of the 61 to finish.
After the showjumping, Darrell Scaife, the new Chairman of the British Selectors said: “I am genuinely delighted to come home with team bronze; today was a challenging and technical test of skill and all our riders tried incredibly hard and rode well.
“Alex Tordoff rode a stylish round and had an unlucky pole and Alex Kennedy absolutely rode her socks off and has been outstanding in every phase.”
“The riders fought from start to finish to ensure that we went home with a team medal and I am hugely proud of them and that their determination was rewarded.”
See the FEI site for the full results.
Image: Ingrid Klimke and Horseware Hale Bob, by Libby Law, courtesy of the FEI