Holland’s Luuk Mourits added to Harmony Sporthorses’ string of successes this season at the Global Dressage Festival, with his first international win yesterday aboard Harmony’s Sarotti OLD in the prix st georges CDI3*.
Luuk is one of a trio of international riders who winter in Wellington at the barn of Harmony owners Leslie and John Malone’s Four Winds Farm. His colleagues are Britain’s Susan Pape and Germany’s Michael Klimke, who has trained Luuk for some seven years.
“Overall, I must say we had the most successful season for Harmony Sporthorses,” said Michael. “We are a good team together, we all help each other. Teamwork makes the dream work.”
Luuk, 31, was the only non-American rider in the field and scored 71.147% with a high mark of more than 74% from judge Kurt Christensen.
“For me, it’s very special,” said Michael. “Next year Luuk will ride his first grand prix. He is one of the hardest workers – all day long he’s thinking about his horses. He’s really working hard for success. He started as a young horse rider to break horses in, some years ago. Then last year we heard the national anthem for the Netherlands in the stadium [at the Global Dressage Festival] – that gave us all goosebumps.”
Susan’s three horses in the mix were Harmony’s Eclectic, Harmony’s V-Plus, and Harmony’s Giulilanta. Susan had a notable season in Wellington with an exceptional showing in week three when she won the grand prix special CDI4* with Harmony’s Eclectisch posting a personal best. She then claimed a national prix st georges win on Harmony’s V-Plus. She also won on Harmony’s Giulilanta in the intermediate I CDI1*, with a test peppered with eights that handed victory to the 11-year-old Jazz daughter.
Michael meanwhile led Germany to victory in the Nations Cup aboard Harmony’s Sanrino RHP, a 13-year-old Oldenburg Stallion, with whom he has a significant connection. “He is really special,” said Michael. “I’m very optimistic with the horses that I have – the grand prix horses, but also the horses that are close to grand prix.”
Michael has been with the Malones and Harmony Sporthorses for 20 years, step by step, investing time in building up the horses to grand prix level. “Long-term relationships are one of the many secrets of success,” he said.
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