Tag Archive: Sandra Auffarth

  1. Double gold for Germany at the FEI European Eventing Championships

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    Michael Jung’s grin as he soared over the final show jump and crossed the finish line said it all. In sealing victory for Germany at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships with a clear round in the showjumping he equalled the record set by Ginny Elliot in 1989 of winning three individual European Championship titles on three different horses.

    The defending champion’s performance on a horse that only has only a fraction of the experience of others in the field was nothing short of remarkable. He finished on his dressage score of 33.5 to win individual gold by nearly 10 penalties.

    “FischerTakinou is a young horse, but he’s a top horse, and he has shown today that he has the quality for the next big championship,” said Jung, who received his medal from Her Majesty The Queen, who was presenting the prizes.

    When Germany’s Yorkshire-born team trainer Christopher Bartle was asked whether he thought Her Majesty might have something to say about an Englishman training the winning German team, he retorted: “I think you’ll find there is quite a lot of German blood in the royal family!”

    Sandra Auffarth and her brilliant partner Opgun Louvo added to their extensive championship medal tally with individual silver.

    “I think we will have a party tonight,” she smiled. “To be part of such a great team is an amazing feeling.”

    The third counting team member, Ingrid Klimke, finished fifth with Horseware Hale Bob.

    Thibaut Vallette, a colonel in the French army, led his country to team bronze and collected the same colour medal in the individual competition.

    “This is my first team championship appearance, so I really didn’t expect this result,” admitted Vallette, who has ridden beautifully all week on the spring-heeled Qing du Briot ENE HN. “The main objective was to qualify the team for the Rio Olympics [both France and the fifth-placed Swedish team succeeded], so for me this is a double victory.”

    Britain has suffered mixed fortunes all week, but hung on to the team silver medal with all but one of its three remaining members jumping clear rounds.

    “Didn’t the girls do brilliantly,” said William Fox-Pitt, who failed to complete yesterday’s cross-country on Bay My Hero, but was there to support the remaining all-female trio.

    Nicola Wilson had a lucky escape when One Two Many crashed through an oxer, but both Pippa Funnell and Kitty King jumped classy clears on their relatively inexperienced horses.

    “Persimmon’s been fantastic all week and he couldn’t have jumped better today,” said a relieved and delighted King. “I knew he could do it so long as I didn’t mess up.”

    There was disappointment, though, for individual Izzy Taylor, whose one fence down on KBIS Briarlands Matilda dropped her from individual bronze to sixth place, but it was still a performance to take heart from.

    “Of course I’m disappointed, but there have been a lot of positives this week and I’ve very much got my eye on Rio next year,” said a philosophical Taylor. After all, her cross-country round was many people’s idea of the performance of the day.

    Image: Michael Jung during the dressage test at the FEI European Eventing Championships, by Jon Stroud, courtesy of the FEI

  2. Germany takes control at the FEI European Eventing Championships

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    Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo demonstrated the same cool-headedness that has won them six championship medals, including the world title in Normandy last year, to take over pole position at the end of the dressage phase at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships.

    A punchy, flowing and completely mistake-free test earned the pair a mark of 31.4, leaving them 0.3 of a penalty ahead of yesterday’s leaders, Britain’s Holly Woodhead and DHI Lupison.

    “He was perfect and relaxed, and he really enjoyed the test,” said Auffarth, who spearheads Germany’s campaign to retain the European title it won in Malmö two years ago.

    Unsurprisingly, Germany is out in front at the end of the first phase. Its score of 102.7, bolstered by anchorwoman Ingrid Klimke’s mark of 37.8 this afternoon, leaves them almost 10 marks ahead of the second-place British team. The reigning European and Olympic Champion, Michael Jung, is currently lying third individually with FischerTakinou.

    The host nation couldn’t quite reproduce yesterday’s glut of scores in the 30s, but there were nevertheless some exciting performances from squad newcomers and young horses.

    Pippa Funnell’s nine-year-old, Sandman 7, lived up to expectations and a great test left the pair in 19th position on a score of 41.

    “I could feel he was a bit nervous, but he tried very hard and I think his performance shows the quality of horse he is,” said Funnell, who holds the distinction of being the only rider to win back-to-back European titles on the same horse (on Supreme Rock in 1999 and 2001).

    British individual Oliver Townend pulled off a great test on new ride Fenyas Elegance to score 38.7. The chestnut mare, a winner of Blenheim and Bramham with Irish rider Aoife Clark, can be difficult to manage but the Scottish Highlands obviously suits her as she was soft and biddable, stopping to eat grass as she came out of the arena.

    “The place seems to work in her favour as she felt light as though there could be even more improvement,” said Townend.

    Squad debutant Francis Whittington followed Townend’s lead, scoring 37.5 to lie in seventh place. Of tomorrow’s cross-country test, he said: “It helps having ridden round Burghley last week, which was huge and puts this course in perspective.”

    The loudest cheer of the day was reserved for local rider Wills Oakden, the sole Scottish representative at the championship.

    Oakden, who hails from Fife and is trained by Blair course-designer Ian Stark, was given a rousing reception when he left the arena after his test on Greystone Midnight Melody, which earned him a mark of 46.4.

    “I was expecting to be more nervous than I was, but I put myself into a bubble and tried to stay there,” said the 25-year-old. “I’ve always wanted to ride for Great Britain, but if I’m honest I didn’t think I was quite ready yet. The selectors have shown a lot of faith in me and I hope that I can justify that.”

    France currently leads the race for Olympic qualification – there are two spots up for grabs at Blair – and lies third in the team rankings. Its trailblazer, Thibaut Vallette, a 41-year-old lieutenant-colonel in the French army, is currently the best-placed of the quartet, sitting in fifth place on a score of 36.8 on Qing de Briot ENE HN.

    “I’m very proud to be on the team. I don’t mind going first, as I like to concentrate on myself at a competition rather than watching other people,” he said.

    1. Sandra Auffarth (GER) and Opgun Louvo on 31.4
    2. Holly Woodhead (GBR) and DHI Lupison on 31.7
    3. Michael Jung (GER) and FischerTakinou on 33.5
    4. Nicola Wilson (GBR) and One Two Many on 34.6
    5. Thibaut Vallette (FRA) and Qing du Briot on 36.8
    6. Kitty King (GBR) and Persimmon on 36.9
    7. Francis Whittington (GBR) and Easy Target on 37.5
    8. Ingrid Klimke (GER) and Horseware Hale Bob on 37.8
    9. Laura Collett (GBR) and Grand Manoeuvre on 37.8
    10. Niklas Lindback (SWE) and Cendrillon on 38.1

    1. Germany on 102.7
    2. Great Britain on 112.5
    3. France on 115.2
    4. Sweden on 119.4
    5. Italy on 140.9

    Image: Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo take the lead after the dressage phase at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle in Scotland, by Jon Stroud, courtesy of the FEI