‘I think she’ll retire next year’: young rider and 17-year-old home-bred top Luhmühlen Horse Trials CCI4*-S dressage day one

  • Rising German star Anna Lena Schaaf and home-bred Fairytale 39 have taken the lead on the first day of the Longines Luhmühlen Horse Trials CCI4*-S dressage today (13 June).

    Anna, 22, and the 17-year-old Fidertanz 2 mare posted a score of 26.0, pushing Anna’s compatriot Michael Jung and Kilcandra Ocean Power into overnight second on 27.1. New Zealand’s Tim Price and the 2022 Maryland 5 Star winner Coup De Coeur Dudevin are in provisional third on 28.1.

    Anna and Fairytale 39 produced a lovely flowing test, just losing marks for their walk pirouettes when the mare appeared to be briefly distracted by something outside the arena.

    “The trot part was really good, she was really in front of me and I could really ride her,” said Anna.

    “In the walk I don’t know what happened in the pirouette, but she was in a bit of a hurry and I said to her ‘Ok, stay here’. The canter work was also really good, but in the flying changes I could have ridden them a bit more, so in training it was maybe worth one point more. But it was good, and I’m happy.”

    Fairytale 39 was bred by Anna’s grandfather Gerd Neukäter and first competed by Anna’s mother Ilka in dressage, before Anna took over the ride in 2015 when she was 14. The pair have enjoyed continued success, including winning double gold at the junior Europeans in 2018, and taking the German young rider championship in 2021. Last month the pair were fifth in the Wiesbaden CCI4*-S.

    Anna, who finished fourth with Fairytale 39 in the Luhmühlen CCI4*-S last year, said retirement could soon be looming for the much-loved “family horse”.

    “Maybe this will be my last year with her, so I really want to enjoy it,” she said.

    “I think she’ll retire next year – but I also said that last year, so we will see how she feels.”

    Michael Jung took early CCI4*-S dressage lead at Luhmühlen

    Michael held the Luhmühlen Horse Trials CCI4*-S dressage lead throughout the morning on Kilcandra Ocean Power, and Michael believes there are still more marks to come from the 11-year-old.

    “He’s a really, really nice horse,” said Michael, who topped the Strzegom CCI4*-L with the gelding last year.

    Michael has produced the horse, having bought him as a five-year-old at the Goresbridge Go for Gold sales in 2018 for €19,000.

    “He’s very nice to ride in the dressage. The canter is the best part from him, he does really nice flying changes,” said Michael.

    “There’s still a lot to improve. It’s very nice when you have a good test but you still feel like there’s something to get better. He’s a super jumper and very easy in the cross-country so fingers crossed for Saturday.”

    As the Luhmühlen CCI4*-S incorporates the German national championship, Michael said when it comes to cross-country course-designer Mike Etherington-Smith’s track, “It’s usually always a bit more than a normal four-star”.

    “We have a lot of top riders here and everyone wants to win this week, but for me it’s still also a bit about preparation for Paris,” said Michael, adding that this means he will not necessarily be chasing the clock.

    “We will have a few per cent more control on the cross-country, it’s not all about catching the time.”

    Michael confirmed that Kilcandra Ocean Power is his first reserve horse to FischerChipmunk FRH for the Paris Olympics. Michael and FischerChipmunk are drawn for the second day of Luhmühlen Horse Trials CCI4*-S dressage, tomorrow (14 June) at 11.42am UK time (12.42pm local time).

    Tim Price seeking Olympic qualification at Luhmühlen

    Tim was happy with 12-year-old Coup De Coeur Dudevin’s performance, describing it as better than their test at Wiesbaden CCI4*-S last month, where the pair finished second.

    “While the Wiesbaden test scored better (25.4), I thought this was a better test. He’s a proper authentic eventing horse; he’s not a top dressage horse, but he tries his hardest and he’s just a great cross-country horse and jumper,” said Tim.

    “The walk was much better today, and I think he just relaxed a little bit more through his body and was able to swing. He didn’t peek out the sides at what was going on around him and I could just feel him concentrating really hard everywhere.”

    Tim confirmed that Coup De Coeur Dudevin is on his Paris “short list”, alongside his other four-star ride Falco, whose dressage is tomorrow at 10.57am UK time (11.57am local time).

    “But they have to qualify, which is great fun… trying to show off horses and not do anything stupid!” he said.

    The Luhmühlen Horse Trials CCI4*-S dressage continues tomorrow, with the three Brits still to come forward. Paris Olympic hopefuls Laura Collett and London 52 are on at 9.02am UK time (10.02am local time), Yasmin Ingham and Banzai Du Loir at 9.47am UK time (10.47am local time), and Tom McEwen and JL Dublin at 10.10am UK (11.10am local time).

    The first day of the CCI5* dressage gets under way this afternoon, with eight Brits on today’s start list including Yasmin Ingham and her other Paris potential ride Rehy DJ (at 1.15pm UK time/2.15pm local time), Laura Collett and Hester (2.50pm UK time/3.15pm local time), and five-star debutant Storm Straker and Fever Pitch (3.27pm Uk time/4.27pm local time). Tom McEwen is first to go in the five-star dressage with CHF Cooliser at 1.15pm UK time (2.15pm local time).  Ros Canter and Izilot DHI, who are also among the potential British Paris entries, are on tomorrow at 1.07pm UK time (2.07pm local time).

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