German riders dominated in all three disciplines at CHIO Aachen, but should Britain be concerned ahead of the World Equestrian Games?
Last week H&H asked the question, “can Valegro be beaten?” At Aachen, the answer was yes.
Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro went to Aachen unbeaten since January 2012.
However, in the Nations Cup grand prix (17 July) the pair had to settle for a disappointing — and surprising — sixth after several mistakes, with German combinations Matthias Rath and Totilas (pictured) and Helen Langehanberg with Damon Hill filling the top two spots.
Valegro was second in the grand prix special, again won by Totilas, before winning the freestyle. However, Totilas wasn’t in the class.
Chef d’equipe Major Richard Waygood told H&H we need to “look on the positive side”.
“It wasn’t a great show for Charlotte, however as the classes went on she improved,” he said.
“Obviously the German team look very solid. But we’d rather have these glitches now than at WEG.
“Michael [Eilberg] had a great show and is definitely going the right way too.
“Our main goal for WEG is to qualify for Rio, if we’ve done that we’ve done our jobs”.
The home nation also set a high bar for the eventing. Germany fielded the Nations Cup winning team, plus a one-two-three in the CICO3*.
Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo came home in front of Ingrid Klimke (FRH Escada JS) and Michael Jung and La Biosthetique-Sam FBW in third.
Although finishing second in the Nations Cup, the Brits did not put in a foot-perfect performance. Zara Phillips and High Kingdom had poor dressage and showjumping phases, while Harry Meade (as an individual) scored in the late 50s in the dressage with Wild Lone. But Izzy Taylor and Orlando put in a solid effort to finish fourth overall.
“Aachen is a fantastic show and we made use of it as part of our mid season campaign. But it’s hard to read anything into this at this stage,” said GBR manager Yogi Breisner.
“We’ll do our best at WEG and see what happens. But we are not disappointed with Aachen — we came second above some strong teams and we are delighted especially with Izzy.”
Heading for the grand slam
He described the win as “a dream come true”.
However, H&H reported earlier this month that British riders were disappointed not to be fielding a team at the prestigious show, meaning that previous winners Nick Skelton (2013) and Michael Whitaker in (2012) were unable to defend their titles.
Performance manager Rob Hoekstra told H&H this was to “conserve horsepower”.
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (24 July, 2014)