Find out how cross-country day unfolded at the first European five-star of 2021...
She finished 14 seconds inside the 11 minute 4 second optimum time to remain on her 29 dressage score on her own 12-year-old, Charly Van Ter Heiden (pictured).
Luhmühlen cross-country result 2021
“I feel quite emotional after that round – he’s just an exceptional horse,” Mollie said. “I’m so inexperienced but he’s just got a heart of gold and he wants to do it.
“He’s only 24% blood but he keeps galloping and pushing himself to the absolute limit for me and to find a horse like that is just extraordinary – I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve a horse like him, but he’s just amazing.”
From the 24 cross-country starters, 13 jumped clear, with only five of those completing inside the optimum time.
“The course was so relentless and we never had many let ups,” explained Mollie. “That’s why Charly is so genuine – if I had a few green jumps it didn’t knock his confidence. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but he was clear and that’s all I could have ever wanted.
“I wish Team GB were out here with me, but they have been on the phone every step of the way. My friends sent me videos of how the course was riding as I had to get Charly ready myself this morning so I didn’t get the opportunity to watch any of how the course was riding and that definitely helped.”
New Zealand’s Tim Price, who was in second and third on 2019 Luhmühlen five-star winner Ascona M and Ringwood Sky Boy respectively, retired both horses following run-outs in the latter part of the course.
This meant Germany’s Christoph Wahler climbed from seventh after the first phase into second on Carjatan S thanks to a clear round across country, inside the time. They are 3.1 penalties adrift of Mollie going into the final phase tomorrow.
Britain’s Emilie Chandler has climbed from eighth after the dressage into third, thanks to a clear jumping round across country on Maria Doel’s 12-year-old Gortfadda Diamond. They picked up just 3.6 time-faults to go into the final phase on 36 penalties.
“I wanted to come here in the first place, but the Covid restrictions made it difficult,” Emilie explained. “I went to Bicton with this horse last week and I didn’t have a very good run – I had two early run outs and so I pulled him up to save him for another day. But then the quarantine rules changed and I put the original plan back into motion.
“So I came off the back of a not very good run so mentally it took quite a lot for me to get on with it, but I believe in the horse and cross-country is my favourite bit and he lived up to my expectations. He was a bit free in the first quarter of the course, but once I got the fences in the main arena out of the way, as that was my biggest concern with the turns as this horse isn’t always the easiest to manoeuvre, I grew in confidence all the way around, and by the end I felt like I could have jumped anything on him.”
Ariel Grald, from the United States, is in fourth with Leamore Master Plan on 37.4, while Ireland’s Cathal Daniels is in fifth with LEB Lias Jewel on their 36.1 dressage.
Britain’s David Doel had good rounds on two out of his three rides, sitting in 11th and 12th with Carneyhaugh Rua and Shannondale Quest respectively. He retired his other ride, Dunges Don Perignon, on course after a couple of run-outs.
The final showjumping phase gets underway tomorrow at 9.30am (BST).
Read the full report from Luhmühlen in the 24 June issue of Horse & Hound magazine, plus keep checking back to horseandhound.co.uk for further updates throughout this weekend.
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