Young British rider leads Luhmühlen dressage: ‘It’s amazing to be in this position – but I don’t expect to stay here’ *H&H Plus*

  • Find out what the rising star said and why fellow British top-10 rider Emilie Chandler had a hectic time getting to the event

    Mollie Summerland leads after the Luhmühlen Horse Trials dressage for the Longines CCI5* class.

    The 23-year-old British rider scored 29 for her test on her own Charly Van Ter Heiden.

    This is not as low a mark as the pair have scored in the past, but all the tests seemed to be marked on the harsh side today. Mollie’s ride is a great mover and particularly impressed in his extended trot, scoring a nine from Anne-Mette Binder at C and eights from the other two judges.

    Her marks did drop down to fours in the third flying change and it was also a pity that Charly tripped in his 8m circle in trot, for which his marks ranged from 5.5 to 7.5.

    “I’m such a perfectionist and I did make quite a costly mistake in missing that change,” said Mollie. “Also, it’s 34 degrees here, which is why he shook his head in walk as the flies were bothering him, which you can’t blame him for.

    “I already feel quite a lot of pressure being here, let alone going into the lead, but I know the horse can do a good test and those mistakes did cost me a more comfortable margin – but of course I can’t complain.”

    Mollie and Charly made their five-star debut at Pau Horse Trials last year, where they finished 10th.

    “It’s obviously amazing to be in this position after day one, but I don’t feel like I’m going to stay there – there’s lots to jump tomorrow and I want to remember it’s only our second five-star and ride the horse I’ve got under me and if I feel he’s going green, not to let the result go to my head and to remember to do what’s right by him.”

    Tim Price holds second and third for New Zealand. The top trio are tightly bunched and Ascona M, the reigning Luhmühlen title holder as she won in 2019, is just 0.1 behind Mollie, with Ringwood Sky Boy – who was first into the arena – another 0.1 in arrears.

    Lucy Sangster and Peter Vela’s elegant grey Ascona M also had a couple of slightly lower marks in the walk and halt but was very consistent aside from that.

    “She’s very talented and can score very low on flat so we know that’s in there,” said Tim. “She was going at about 80% of what she’s capable of. She struggles with halting and staying nicely connected, so I had to fake my way through the halts, but other than that she was very good and very rideable.”

    Varenna Allen, Robert Taylor and Tim’s Ringwood Sky Boy, the 2018 Burghley Horse Trials winner, is 18 years now and put in a thoroughly professional test that befitted his age and experience.

    He’s such a delight to do – we know each other inside out and the process of getting him ready to do a test has become less and less. He has a lot of anxiety and nervous energy. It’s taken him some years to be at peace with himself, but it’s nice now not have to do a lot with him and when it’s time to do test, he understands it’s time to try hard,” said Tim.

    Luhmühlen Horse Trials dressage: Tim Price and Ascona M

    Tim Price and Ascona M at Luhmühlen five-star in June 2021. Credit: Annette Dölger / TGL

    There are three British riders at the five-star and Emilie Chandler holds eighth after the Luhmühlen Horse Trials dressage on Maria Doel’s Gortfadda Diamond with 32.4. His test was smooth aside from a slightly stilted rein-back and there was some marking discrepancy in one of his flying changes, for which scores ranged from 4.5 to seven.

    “I was absolutely delighted – I don’t think he could have tried any harder. He was really rideable and relaxed,” said Emilie. “I was a bit disappointed with the mark but I thought it was the best test he’s done for me so I’m thrilled with him.”

    Emilie had a “hectic 24 hours” getting everything organised to get out to Luhmühlen after news came in last Saturday (12 June) that British-based riders could obtain exemptions to the German travel ban and quarantine requirements. She had been at Bicton Horse Trials with Gortfadda Diamond, but had pulled up early across country after a run-out.

    “His owner and I decided to come at 8pm on Sunday night and it was all systems go, but luckily I had got quite a lot organised before the rules came in and we decided not to come. Trying to do it from scratch would have been impossible,” said Emilie, who left home at 2am on Tuesday and arrived around 24 hours later.

    Mollie and the third British rider, David Doel, had both taken the plunge to travel to Luhmühlen despite the difficulties and had left early to allow them to quarantine for some time outside Britain, as required before the exemption was granted.

    David has three rides, with Gillian Jonas’s Shannondale Quest 18th after today’s dressage, Tim and Alice Page’s home-bred Dunges Don Perignon 22nd and Ian and Jane James’ Carneyhaugh Rua 24th.

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