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‘Ride’ around the Pau five-star cross-country track with a top 10 finisher

Last week (23-26 October), we were treated to the sole five-star of 2020 at Pau. Some of the world’s top riders and horses did battle, including having to navigate course designer Pierre Michelet’s testing cross-country course. The track was over a distance of 6,340m, featuring 31 numbered fences and with an optimum time of 11min 8sec.

To give us a proper feel of how the course rode, here is a video of young British talent Mollie Summerland and Charly Van Ter Heiden tackling their first five-star track. They went on to finish clear inside the time across country to move up from eighth after dressage to fifth. They unfortunately lowered two rails on the final day in the showjumping and incurred 1.2 time-faults to finish in eventual 10th, which is still a huge achievement nonetheless.

So, buckle up and enjoy the ride!

After her round, Mollie told H&H: “It doesn’t feel like it’s sunk in how well he went. When I finished I thought it wasn’t the prettiest round I’ve ever ridden. He is so genuine and that’s where our partnership really counts. When I heard them say I had finished bang on the optimum time, I was expecting to burst into tears and have strong emotions, but I think I was in complete disbelief — it was a very strange feeling.”

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Mollie continued: “I didn’t have time to watch anybody go before me as I was 11th to go, but I’ve been training with Robin Dumas leading up to this event and he had given us such a good tune up. I sent him videos of the course for him to offer me advice and training with him has given me a lot of confidence in the run-up to my first five-star.”

Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find out more about getting the magazine delivered to your door every week.

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