Germany’s Christoph Wahler might be contesting his first senior championships at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships in Luhmühlen (28 August-1 September), but he already has five junior and young rider European Championships under his belt.
The 25-year-old was a late call-up for the German squad with Carjatan S, following the withdrawal of Frank Ostholt. Not only that but Christoph’s girlfriend of five years and German eventing team stalwart, Julia Krajewski, also now finds herself in a supporting role after her Europeans-bound mount, Samouri Du Thot picked up an injury in training.
“I’m lucky to have Julia here — she is obviously very involved with me and my horses and knows us all very well,” explains Christoph, who has almost completed a degree in agriculture at Osnabrück University. “We don’t train each other but we sit down and talk before and after each phase and obviously Julia knows Luhmühlen very well having enjoyed plenty of success here, so her knowledge of the cross-country is invaluable.”
“I try to help with Christoph’s mind,” says Julia. “We don’t train together but I try to support him as much as I can. I will definitely be nervous watching on cross-country day, but they are a different kind of nerves — not because I am scared but because I want him to go well.”
Christoph says he is “excited but of course a bit nervous” about his senior championship debut. “My junior and young rider team experiences help in the sense that I understand the processes of being part of a team, but senior championships are a completely different level, so that aspect is new.”
Christoph has been riding the 10-year-old grey Carjatan S for five years.
“He had done one cross-country round when we bought him, but other than that, I have done everything with him. He used to be very spooky with water and so we used to take him out schooling frequently to try and get him over the issue, and thankfully by the time he was a seven-year-old he clicked out of it and we haven’t looked back since.”
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Carjatan has a number of notable results to his name including winning the CCI4*-S Nations Cup at Houghton Hall in May. In their dressage this morning (29 August) at Luhmühlen they scored 33.8.
“He has a big trot and can then struggle taking that into the walk, but today he jumped off into canter and was then tense all the way through the canter work,” explains Christoph. “But I came out and thought, he’s only 10 and he didn’t blow his lid — I was still able to ride him through the test, which is an improvement, so I think we’re getting there.”
Check back for more updates from the Eventing European Championships in Luhmühlen all week, plus full report in next week’s Horse & Hound magazine (dated 5 September).