Germany claimed the CHIO Aachen showjumping Nations Cup victory for the third consecutive year, just nudging Ireland into the runner-up spot.
The home side included two young riders making their team debuts, Simone Blum on DSP Alice (pictured above) and Laura Klaphake riding Catch Me If You Can OLD, with Maurice Tebbel (Chaccos Son) returning to the team after winning here in 2017, and Marcus Ehning (Pret A Tout) providing valuable experience, staying cool under pressure to jump a super clear in the second round to secure his team the victory.
All four German riders achieved at least one clear in the two-round competition, with Laura and her 10-year-old Catoki mare one of just three combinations to achieve a double clear.
“It was always my dream to ride on a team in Aachen one day,” said Laura. “My horse is in the best form of her life. She tried so hard for me out there.”
While Britain was not represented in the Nations Cup this year, Ireland finished a close second, the quartet of Shane Sweetnam, Cian O’Connor, Darragh Kenny and Cameron Hanley clocking up six penalties to finish just two behind Germany.
Shane and the 12-year-old Chacco Blue stallion Chacqui Z didn’t touch a fence across both rounds, though unbelievably accrued a single time-fault for each. Darragh Kenny and Cameron Hanley each had more mixed fortunes: Darragh followed up 12 faults on the Balou Du Rouet mare Babalou 41 with a super clear, and Cameron piloted Quirex cleanly in round one, before hitting two rails later on.
Cian and his 2017 European bronze medallist Good Luck had an unlucky pole down early on, but the Canturo stallion never looked like touching a fence in the second round as he jumped a fantastic clear to clinch the runner-up spot.
“We knew Germany would be the team to beat, and we were ready to give them a hard time,” said the Irish chef d’equipe Rodrigo Pessoa. “Our horses jumped their best, especially in the second round to stay in touch. We’re not happy to be second of course, but we’re very happy with our performance.”
The Netherlands had topped the leaderboard after round one, but with more fences falling in round two, the team of Leopold van Asten, Maikel van der Vleuten, Marc Houtzager and Frank Schuttert dropped down the rankings to finish third.
Don’t miss the full report from Aachen in next week’s H&H, on sale on 26 July.