Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master 15th after dressage at Luhmühlen

Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master

First Canadian pair to compete at Luhmühlen CCI4*
Canada’s Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master, the 12-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding sired by Rodero, owned and bred by Blithe Hill Farm of Orangeville, ON, have returned to the four-star level with a bang. Riddle Master sustained an injury at 2014 Badminton and this pair have been carefully coming back into competition with hopes of representing Canada at the 2016 Olympics. After dressage, they are currently in 15th place with a personal best of 42.5. Rebecca and Rupert are the first Canadian pair to ever compete at the Luhmühlen CCI4* and they are making Canada proud.

Rebecca of Salmon Arm, BC,  currently lives and trains near Marlborough, GBR, her and Riddle Master have represented Canada at the  2012 Olympic Games and 2010 World Equestrian Games.

 

Julien Desponti and Waldano 36

Julien Desponti and Waldano 36

Julien Despontin leads field
Belgian rider Julien Despontin, who is competing in only his second CCI4*, leads a distinguished field of Olympians after Dressage at Luhmühlen (GER), presented by DHL, the fifth and penultimate leg of the FEI Classics™ 2014/2015.

“It’s amazing. Unbelievable,” exclaimed the 25-year-old rider, who managed to hold his first-day lead over Olympic gold medallists Ingrid Klimke (GER), Michael Jung (GER) and Sir Mark Todd (NZL) after a Dressage phase of particularly high standard.

Despontin scored 31.9, one of the highest Dressage scores at CCI4* level, on the 14-year-old Waldano 36, a Hannoverian by Wolkenstanz. He has lived in Germany for eight years and trains with Andreas Ostholt (GER).

“I just went in there and did my best, but my horse moves beautifully; his strength is definitely in his walk and trot. He did well in the Dressage at Pau (FRA) last year as well, but ended up in 14th place [with several Cross Country time penalties], so it will be interesting to see how it goes here,” commented Despontin. “The riders will need all their concentration.”

The Belgian newcomer will certainly need all his focus to remain in the top spot after Cross Country. Two female riders known for their Cross Country speed are in close contention, both riding mares: Ingrid Klimke, the current leader of the FEI Classics™, is lying just 0.8 penalties behind Despontin in second place on FRH Escada JS, and Jonelle Price (NZL) is third on Faerie Dianimo on a score of 32.8.

The top 11 placed riders in the field of 38 all scored in the 30s. The reigning Olympic champion, Michael Jung, is fourth and fifth with fisherRocana FST, second last year, and La Biosthetique Sam FBW, the winner here in 2009 and European champion in 2011.

Jung revealed that both horses are being entered for Burghley (GBR), the final leg of the FEI Classics™, and that he has a choice of potential rides with which to defend his title at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle (GBR) in September.

“I’m lucky that I have so many nice horses,” he said. “I always enjoy coming to Luhmühlen because it has a championship feel and horses always learn something here.”

The Australian Olympic rider Christopher Burton is in sixth place on Graf Liberty on 36.4 penalties, just a fraction at 0.1 ahead of double Olympic champion Sir Mark Todd, seventh on NZB Campino, the horse on which he won team bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Riders have been assessing Mark Phillips’s Cross Country course, which runs in the opposite direction to last year and contains several accuracy tests in the form of narrow fences and corners, and twists and turns which could make the optimum time difficult to achieve.

Klimke, who is yet to win her home CCI4*, is looking forward to the challenge. “It looks super,” she said. “It’s very friendly and inviting but there are some technical questions, especially the Ariat question near the end of the course which is asking for precision and concentration.”

Top 10 after Dressage
1 Julien Despontin/Waldano 36 (BEL) 31.9
2 Ingrid Klimke/FRH Escada JS (GER) 32.7
3 Jonelle Price/Faerie Dianimo (NZL) 32.8
4 Michael Jung/fischerRocana FST (GER) 34.1
5 Michael Jung/La Biosthetique Sam FBW (GER) 34.2
6 Christopher Burton/Graf Liberty (AUS) 36.4
7 Sir Mark Todd/NZB Campino (NZL) 36.5
8 Jesse Campbell/Kaapachino (NZL) 36.8
9 Clark Montgomery/Loughan Glen (USA) 37.1
10 Lizzie Brown/Henton Attorney General (NZL) 38.2

Excerpted from FEI press release by Kate Green

To keep up with all the action at Luhmühlen this weekend:
[Website] [Entires] [Schedule] [Thursday Times] [Friday Times] [Results] [Live stream]

 

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