German favourite leads Luhmühlen CCI4*-S after dressage – as British medallist ‘goes big’ to hold second

  • German legend Michael Jung and his multiple medal-winning partner FischerChipmunk FRH top the leaderboard at the conclusion of the Longines Luhmühlen Horse Trials CCI4*-S dressage phase today (14 June).

    Michael and the 16-year-old gelding were second last to go and the reliable pair produced a polished test to score 22.9, with the French judge at C Xavier Le Sauce awarding 73.96%, and German judge Edith Schless-Stortenbecker, at E, scoring them 80.21%.

    Michael, who also holds overnight fourth with second-string horse Kilcandra Ocean Power, said FischerChipmunk had given him a “very good ride”, noting the half passes and flying changes as highlights.

    “He was very calm and listening, and just beautiful to ride and enjoy,” said Michael.

    “He made it very easy for me today. The extended trot had very good drive, was very powerful, and super balanced. In the dressage it’s about feeling and experience, every ride gives you a bit of information.”

    Go big or go home

    Laura Collett holds provisional second on her Paris hopeful London 52, having posted 24.8 in the morning of the second day Luhmühlen Horse Trials CCI4*-S dressage. Germany’s Anna Lena Scaff, the overnight leader after the dressage yesterday (13 June), goes into the cross-country phase tomorrow (15 June) in third with Fairytale 39.

    Laura and the 15-year-old gelding, owned by Keith Scott, Karen Bartlett and Laura, are no strangers to Luhmühlen, having won the five-star class last year. The Tokyo Olympic team gold medallists are competing in the CCI4*-S this time round, with Paris selection just round the corner.

    Laura said today’s test was about “trying to see where we can push the extra bits”.

    “Normally his half passes are kind of his highlight and he got all in a bit of a muddle. I was probably too brave on the short side and didn’t set him up enough, and then when I did a half-halt, he thought he needed a halt,” she said, adding that she had London 52 “revved up more than normal” ahead of going into the arena.

    “It’s just finding out how far you can go and what needs tweaking. I know he can go in and do a safe test, but it’s trying to get a safe test – and a wild test – all at the same time. It’s go big or go home really, we’re just ramping everything up and trying to show him off on the short sides, but finding out where you need to give him a balance before going into the movements. It’s just playing around and seeing what we can do.”

    Laura said she was particularly happy with London 52’s canter work.

    “He felt very secure and safe in changes, and very on the aids. There were bits that were really, really good,” she said, noting improvements in the pair’s centre lines, which “can sometimes not be great”.

    “There were parts to like and parts to very much dislike. But we’ll try and get it right next time.”

    Looking ahead to the Luhmühlen CCI4*-S cross-country

    Looking ahead to the cross-country phase, Michael said course-designer Mike Etherington Smith’s track will need “enough respect” early on – and echoed his views from yesterday where he said chasing the clock will not be his priority, with Paris looming.

    “I want to go fast, but I’m still thinking of our big dream, that is the most important thing,” said Michael.

    Laura said the Luhmühlen CCI4*-S track has a “very different feel” to having jumped round the five-star last year.

    “Everything is very intense and comes up very quickly, so you have to be on your A-game,” she said.

    “You have to think, and the horses have to react quickly. I think it’s a great track and at the moment the ground looks amazing, so I’m really looking forward to having a spin and hopefully a good ride tomorrow.”

    Britain’s other named Paris hopefuls Yasmin Ingham and Banzai Du Loir, and Tom McEwen and JL Dublin, sit in overnight seventh and 10th respectively, after the Luhmühlen Horse Trials CCI4*-S dressage.

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