With two weeks to go until Olympia, Laura Bechtolsheimer (pictured) lies just 1.1pen behind Germany’s Ellen Schulten-Baumer at the top of the FEI World Cup leader board. Fellow Briton Fiona Bigwood is currently in seventh with Wayne Channon in 14th position.

A second place for Schulten-Baumer and Donatha S in the FEI World Cup Freestyle at Stockholm this weekend propelled them to the top of the rankings.

“Donatha was fantastic, I had a wonderful ride”, said Ellen of the mare bought as a four-year-old at auction. “On the one hand she is really powerful yet she is also really elegant, and she is so uncomplicated for a mare.”

Jan Brink and Bjorsells Briar took first place in Stolkholm with an outstanding performance of his new kür, bringing the ecstatic audience of more then 8,000 spectators to their feet.

“I am really critical so in a few places I thought I could have ridden better,” Brink said afterwards. “It is only the third time I have ridden this freestyle and I am now working towards perfection.”

Brink has had a stunning season, winning two European medals and becoming the first Swede to win the Aachen championship. “It has been really great, and such fun” he added.

British dressage fans will not have the chance to see Ellen Schulten-Baumer at Olympia as the World Cup leader has chosen to contest Frankfurt instead.

Meanwhile Bechtolsheimer and the talented Douglas Dorsey will be wowing the crowds at Olympia (13-14 December), alongside Olympic gold medallist Anky van Grunsven and world record holder Isabell Werth.

Anky van Grunsven will arrive at Olympia following a successful weekend on home ground in Maastricht, where she won the FEI World Cup Qualifier with Keltec Salinero. The reigning World Cup champions had been working to reduce Salinero’s tension since his last outing and their hard work was evident.

Anky’s husband and trainer Sjef Janssen explained: “We have been doing a lot of work on relaxation and we saw that here, especially in the walk and the changes. You expect Salinero to be a ‘live bomb’ at these shows but he did his halts without hesitation and even after the very last passage he managed to stand still.”

The Olympia crowds look set to be treated to something very special if recent performances by van Gunsven and Werth are anything to go by. Let’s hope Britain’s best can give them a run for their money.


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