Young Belgian Julien Despontin leads at Luhmühlen [VIDEO]

  • Belgium’s Julien Despontin remains in front after the second day of CCI4* dressage at Luhmühlen, presented by DHL.

    Julien, 25, scored 31.9 yesterday with his parents Jean-Phillippe and Christine’s 14-year-old chestnut gelding Waldano 36. The pair are at their second four-star after finishing 14th at Pau last year.

    “He was very relaxed — he always feels very safe here,” Julien told H&H (video interview above).

    Julien is making his second visit to the German event. He withdrew Waldano after dressage in the CIC3* last year as he was friends with German rider Benjamin Winter, who was killed in a fall during the CCI4* cross-country.

    Julien Despontin and Waldano 36 at Luhmuhlen 2015. Picture by Jon Stroud Media

    Julien Despontin and Waldano 36 at Luhmuhlen 2015. Picture by Jon Stroud Media

    Germany’s Ingrid Klimke holds second on 32.7 after a strong test this afternoon with Madeleine Winter-Schulze and the German Olympic equestrian committee’s FRH Escada JS, the 2013 individual European silver medallist.

    “She was so with me — I could ride all her specialities, especially the extensions and her walk was very relaxed,” said Ingrid, who scored a 10 from the judge at C, Christoph Hess, for her riding. “I think she did a wonderful job.”

    Another mare lies third as Jonelle Price scored 32.8 for New Zealand as the first into the arena today. Her ride was Trisha Rickards and Jacky Green’s smart grey 10-year-old Faerie Dianimo. Jonelle scored two nines and an eight for her riding.

    “Not every horse is capable of scoring the big marks and although she is, she has been a difficult mare so she hasn’t always done so consistently,” said Jonelle. “I’ve never been able to get from the start to the finish without any flaws, but today was the day.”

    The home side’s Michael Jung holds fourth and fifth on FischerRocana FST and La Biosthetique-Sam FBW, with Australia’s Christopher Burton sixth on Graf Liberty.

    H&H blogger Coral Keen is best of the British contingent in 16th with a mark of 42.7, riding Total Equestrian Construction and her father Steve’s Wellshead Fare Opposition. Her test was marred only by the 11-year-old cantering out of the first halt and having a slight wobble at the start of the rein-back.

    “He went in and got a little bit tense, but he is green at this level so overall I’m pleased, particularly with the fact we nailed all the changes,” she said (video interview below).

    Also for Britain Willa Newton’s test yesterday has left her 22nd on Newmarket Vasco On, while Nicky Roncoroni is 24th on four-star debutant Stonedge. Nicky received several nines, but it was unfortunate that the horse threw in an early flying change during the extended canter, dropping the marks for both the extended canter and the change itself.

    “They were expensive mistakes, but it’s all there,” she said. “It’s his first four-star test in a big atmosphere, which he took no notice of. He’s here for experience and I think he enjoyed the experience and will have learnt a huge amount from it. Once we tidy things up he should be a low 40s scorer.”

    Another British rider, Emily Lochore, had a slight scare when Hexmaleys Heydey took fright and didn’t want to go through the archway into the arena. But Ingrid Klimke, the competitor before her, quickly grasped the situation, turned round and trotted back into the arena to give her a lead.

    Tomorrow’s CCI4* cross-country starts at 9.45am local time (8.45am in Britain). The class has a small entry this year, with just 38 pairs competing. The supporting CIC3* riders take on the cross-country in the afternoon.

    View course pictures from Luhmühlen here. There will be more updates from the event over the weekend. Full report in H&H this week, out Thursday, 25 June.

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