The 2021 Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) Super Grand Prix at the Prague Playoffs on Saturday night (20 November) was won by the all-conquering duo of Swedish showjumper Henrik von Eckermann and his outstanding 11-year-old gelding King Edward.
However Henrik had to overcome a “miscommunication” at the arena entrance and a resulting bridle mishap. The incident happened as the last-drawn pair came in for the second of the class’s two rounds, needing a fast clear to win the €1.25m feature event.
“King Edward has a lot of energy and nerves,” explained Henrik, who was part of the Swedish gold medal-winning team at the Tokyo Olympics.
“Normally when the gates open I try to trot in, but I waited and then the doors were closed behind him so he got a bit of a shock. Just to make himself calm, he wanted to go backwards so I said ‘OK we’ll go in backwards!’ You just have to take the moment sometimes.”
However, Belgian-bred King Edward also managed to get his tongue over the bit in the process.
“So for the first five or six jumps I was riding on no rein,” said Henrik. “But then luckily I felt it [the horse’s tongue] go back.”
Talking about his incredible run of success this year, which included winning the grand prix of Samorin to qualify for the LGCT Super Grand Prix, Henrik said: “When you have a run, things do go smoother. This is my run and I appreciate it, I really try to enjoy it. Thank you and congratulations to these guys next to me.”
Henrik was paying tribute to Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya and British number one Ben Maher who joined him on the podium for the LGCT Super Grand Prix having taken second and third place respectively with their mounts Alamo and Explosion W.
Sergio recorded the only other double clear of this two-round competition, while Ben’s phenomenal 12-year-old gelding Explosion just picked up four faults at the penultimate vertical, which Ben blamed himself for, to finish as the fastest of the four-faulters.
Read more insight from the Global Champions Prague Playoffs and the LGCT Super Grand Prix in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out Thursday 25 November.