Michael Eilberg and Woodlander Farouche won the prix st georges in Aachen today (Wednesday, 13 July) with a score of 76.368%.
“I’d be thrilled if we come out on top — you are against the best in the world here,” said Michael after his test.
The 10-year-old mare, who is considered one of the most promising next generation British dressage team horses, was “a bit nervous” in the arena, which showed when she straddled her front legs and tossed her head in her first halt.
“She didn’t want to stop, but I tried to stay cool,” said Michael. “I had to ride it a bit carefully. When you have a first halt like that you don’t want to get on the first diagonal and give them a big kick. But I’m pleased, there were no mega whoopsies.
“That’s exactly why she’s here — to get her in the big arena and get her in that sort of atmosphere before she has to do it on the big stage.
“I worked her in that arena the other day, but it’s completely different with the people — they hear the buzz and the clapping.”
Michael said his mark was “a good score” but he thought it might be a little higher as “she felt very consistent”. There was quite a wide disparity in his points — three judges put him first, with the best percentage being 79.079% from Mexico’s Maribel Alonso at E, but Germany’s Ulrike Nivelle at M placed him second and Austria’s Thomas Lang at B had him in fourth on 73.816%.
Michael and Farouche, who was bred by Lynne Crowden of Woodlander Stud and belongs to the Eilbergs and Alison Walton, will perform again in the intermediate I on Saturday.
“I will try to get her out and about when there are things happening before then and work on some of the movements which are in that test but not in this one,” said Michael.
Michael also rides in the CDIO5* grand prix tomorrow on Marakov, with whom he was long-listed for the Rio Olympics and was on the British silver medal-winning team at the European Championships here in Aachen last year. He is joined in the British team for the Nations Cup by Daniel Watson (Amadeus), Sarah Millis (Hofjuwel) and Emile Faurie (Weekend Fun).