Michael Jung might be walking with an obvious limp, but Germany’s main man proved that he is still as effective as ever in the saddle today (23 October) when he piloted two horses to lie first and second after dressage in Pau’s CCI4*.
Michael is using a segway to get around Pau, in the south of France, and his ankle is firmly strapped and supported with a strong bandage.
“My ankle is fixed in place and I can’t move it — but I can kick,” said Michael, who chipped a bone above his right ankle in September when Fischerrocana FST fell in the first water at Burghley but the rider still went on to be crowned European champion a week later.
“I have to be careful how much walking I do for one more week and then I hope to have the bandage taken off.”
Halunke FBW, Michael’s European gold medallist in Malmo two years ago, leads the way on 34.5.
The 11-year-old is less than a penalty ahead of his stablemate, Fischerrocana FST.
“Fischerrocana has been good all season; every time we’ve done a dressage test she’s felt like this,” said Michael of the mare who won Kentucky CCI4* in April. “I was particularly happy with Halunke because every month he has been getting better to work with and using his whole body.
“He was nervous at the beginning of the test today but he still gave me a good feeling.”
It is tightly bunched at the business end of the leaderboard and the top 10 are separated by just 8.4 penalties ahead of tomorrow’s cross-country phase.
British rider Emily King (pictured above) is less than four penalties adrift of the leaders in third. The 19-year-old is making her debut at this level aboard Brookleigh.
“Brook warmed up well — he was relaxed and rideable — and he felt the same in the arena,” said Emily, who trains on the flat with Kyra Kyrkland.
“Brook can be jolly and squeal or buck, but today he kept his spark without losing any energy.”
Brookleigh, a 13-year-old former CCI3* partner of Clayton Fredericks, earned a nine for his first flying change, but marks dropped to four/three/five for the second.
“It’s a shame our second change wasn’t there or I might have sneaked ahead of Michael,” added Emily, who currently leads the CIC2* on Dargun.
France’s Astier Nicolas is best of the home side in fourth on Piaf De B’neville.
“He was consistent and rideable all the way through,” said Astier.
Kiwi Tim Price lies fifth on Wesko, who fidgeted in the second halt but recovered with mostly eights for his canter work.
“Wesko always gives 110% but there was a distraction in the background and he wavered in the halt,” explained Tim.
Great Britain’s Sarah Bullimore will be the first to negotiate Pierre Michelet’s cross-country track tomorrow. She will leave the startbox on Valentino V, lying 16th, at 2pm (1pm GST).
- Get riders’ reaction to the “typically French” course on HorseandHound.co.uk later today
Pau Horse Trials: top 10 after dressage
1 Halunke FBW (Michael Jung, GER) 34.5
2 Fischerrocana FST (Michael Jung, GER) 35.4
3 Brookleigh (Emily King, GBR) 38.3
4 Piaf De B’neville (Astier Nicolas, FRA) 38.5
5 Wesko (Tim Price, NZL) 40
6 Entebbe De Hus (Karim Florent Lahouag, FRA) 40.6
7 Concrex Bayro (Tim Lips, NED) 40.9
8 Indian Mill (Paul Tapner, AUS) 42.3
9 Cambalda (Jennie Brannigan, USA) 42.6
10 Shannondale Titan (Bill Levett, AUS) 42.9
Don’t miss the Pau report in next week’s issue of Horse&Hound magazine, on sale 29 October