‘The atmosphere might be the biggest challenge’: USA on song across both classes at Luhmühlen

  • The USA is showing a strong hand across both the five-star and CCI4*-S Meßmer Trophy at the Longines Luhmühlen Horse Trials (16 to 19 June).

    Will Coleman and the highly talented Chin Tonic HS lead the fiercely competitive four-star, which doubles as the German Championships, on 24.6. The 10-year-old Chin Champ gelding, owned by Hyperion Stud LLC, has won five of his 11 international starts, including two short-format four-stars in the US.

    “My horse went in the ring and gave me a really honest effort. He’s still a little green and can be affected by the atmosphere,” said Will. “That’s why we brought him here, it’s all part of the education. He was very attentive and kept listening; that way he was able to show his quality.”

    He added: “[The course] looks great. There are some intense but fair questions. My horse is very brave and honest, but still a bit inexperienced, so he can be a bit spooky at times.

    “The atmosphere here with all the spectators might be the biggest challenge for him.”

    Lauren Nicholson and the cheeky Vermiculus, owned by Jacqueline Badger Mars, retained their Thursday dressage runner-up position in the five-star and head into Saturday’s cross-country on a score of 26.7 – 1.8 penalties behind leaders Bubby Upton and Cannavaro.

    Liz Halliday-Sharp and the Monster Syndicate’s Cooley Quicksilver’s consistent test on Friday afternoon was rewarded with a mark of 29.1, to sit fifth overnight ahead of cross-country in the five-star.

    “He’s growing up all the time. He’s still young, he’s only 11. He’s a weird, wonderful, wiggly animal, which makes him not very easy to ride on the flat, because his body parts are going in 25 different directions at once, but that makes him an athlete, too,” said Liz, who comes to Luhmühlen with “Monster” following a win at Kentucky CCI4*-S in the spring.

    “His changes are definitely improving, he did hold the straightness for me. Those used to be very tricky with him because he’s just such a wiggle monster.

    “The centre lines are a massive challenge with him, they always have been, because he is thinking something all the time. He’s not one you can just kick down there, because if you do, he will stick his head in the air and gallop off.

    “The extended work is getting a lot better. I think those were quite good today. He had a little trip after the extended trot, which was a shame, but those are definitely gaining more lift.

    “Overall his work is getting more lift and more weight behind, which has always been the step for him.”

    She added: “He wouldn’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but we do know each other very well. For all his goofiness, he does try very hard. He does have a lot of fight in him and he loves his job. He is a very honest cross-country horse.

    “He’s a good boy really, and we’re very good friends. I’m proud of him today.”

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