German showjumper Christian Ahlmann has won the first two legs of the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup Western European League with his stallion Taloubet Z.
After victory in the opening qualifier in Oslo, Norway, last weekend, he claimed the double on Sunday with an impressive win at Helsinki Horse Show in Finland.
“I’m very lucky to have such a quick horse,” said 35-year-old Christian, who suffered the loss of his great stallion Calvados Z seven days previously at Oslo Horse Show. “[Taloubet] is getting better and better all the time and he is able to jump anything and everything. At the beginning with him it was not so easy, but now we understand each other completely.
“It’s a small ring, but that was no problem for him last night or today,” added the German rider, who also took Saturday night’s grand prix with the 10-year-old stallion. “There were lots of turns and, with his scope, I was able to turn very short without having to worry. I did not have to take all the risks and luckily it was enough today — even though I did not expect to win!”
Second place went to Christian’s fellow countryman Philipp Weishaupt (Catoki) with Leon Thijssen and Tyson finishing third for the Netherlands.
Robert Smith and William Funnell were Britain’s sole representatives at the show. Robert and Talan finished in the top 20 having picked up four faults in the first round, while William retired Billy Congo after a “belly flop” at the treble — both horse and rider were apparently none-the-worse, however. The Surrey rider had success earlier in the show, taking a speed class with Julie Slade’s nine-year-old Beowulf.
With 40 points and two Rolex watches already accumulated, Christian Ahlmann looks odds-on to contest the Rolex FEI World Cup final held in Germany in April.
“The pressure is a little bit less now — I will have a chance to pick up a few more points later in the season,” said Christian.
The third leg takes place in Lyon, France, this weekend.
Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping 2010/2011 Western European League standings after two rounds
1. Christian Ahlmann (GER) 40
2. Leon Thijssen (NED) 27
3. Philipp Weishaupt (GER) 24
4. Malin Baryard-Johnsson (SWE) 23
5. Lars Nieberg (GER) 22
6. Kevin Staut (FRA) 21