Germany’s Frank Ostholt (pictured) leads after the dressage in the four-star at Luhmühlen, Germany, on his 2006 winner Air Jordan 2.
The Olympic team gold medallist scored 33.5 to lie 1.5 penalties ahead of his compatriot Simone Deitermann.
Bouts of sunshine at the north Germany venue today were interspersed with violent rain and hailstorms, which inevitably took some toll on the ground in the main arena.
“That was one of his best tests,” said Frank. “The ground was deep and muddy so it’s difficult for the horses to stay balanced and in rhythm, but he’s so cool.”
Frank said it worked to his advantage that this was the first time the 14-year-old Air Jordan 2 has performed the new FEI four-star dressage test in competition.
“He knows everything, nearly too well. I rode this test once at home and this is only the second time he’s been through it, so he was a bit surprised, which was actually good.”
Marbach World Cup qualifier winner Simone said she thought Flambeau H 3 had done a better test here last year, when he was also second after dressage, but she was still pleased.
“The atmosphere here is perfect — he likes that,” she said.
Three riders are equal third on 41.3 — Australia’s Andrew Hoy — who is now based in Germany along with his German wife Bettina — on Grand Joca; Italy’s Susanna Bordone on Carrera and Britain’s Emily Baldwin on Drivetime.
British team manager Yogi Breisner said of Emily’s test: “I thought personally it was a slightly better test than she did at Badminton, which was already very good. This was more solid throughout and the horse was up to a nice outline.”
Tina Cook is next best of the Brits in eighth on her Olympic double bronze medallist Miners Frolic.
The general consensus is that this year’s cross-country track is one of the most difficult Mark Phillips has produced on this site.
“It’s very grown-up and mentally challenging,” said Tina Cook. “It’s not going to be a dressage competition.”
Britain’s Ruth Edge leads the CIC*** after dressage with PC Wilson. The competitors in this class go across country tomorrow morning, with the four-star contestants following in the afternoon.
CCI**** RESULTS AFTER DRESSAGE
1. Frank Ostholt on Air Jordan 2 (GER) 33.5
2. Simone Deitermann on Flambeau H 3 (GER) 35
Eq. 3. Andrew Hoy on Grand Joca (AUS) 41.3
Eq. 3. Emily Baldwin on Drivetime (GB) 41.3
Eq. 3. Susanna Bordone on Carrera (ITA) 41.3
6. Dirk Schrade on Gadget De La Cere AA (GER) 41.7
Don’t forget to buy Horse & Hound next Thursday (18 June) for a full report from Luhmühlen and Tina Cook’s comment.