It’s been a tough cross country day for most at the Luhmuhlen International Horse Trials in Germany. World no. 2 Tim Price and Vitali added just 1.6 time from the Mike Etherington-Smith-designed course in the MeBmer Trophy CCI4*-S, to sit on 28 penalty points in sixth place.
“I am super happy with Vitali,” said Tim. “He was really cool. He has backed up well from his win in Poland from a few weeks ago in a 4* long there. I went as fast as I felt was right for him for I think three-and-a-half seconds over the time which in this kind of company is very costly.”
The Germans are dominating the class, with Michael Jung and fischerChipmunk FRH leading on 21.4 with Julia Krajewski and Amande de B’Neville in second on 23.9 and Sandra Auffarth aboard Viamant du Matz third on 27.1 – all remain on their dressage scores. As expected, time was tough to make, with just 12 of the 94 combinations coming home clear and inside time.
Samantha Lissington and Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ picked up their first 20 penalties since 2017 when they had to circle in a related combination. “Sooty was a champ,” she said. “He was so brave, bold and fast, I just didn’t have enough control and had to circle. I am kicking myself, but he is still young and such a little legend.”
They finished the day on 64.4 penalty points. Tim and Senza Fine also picked up time and jump penalties to end up on 82.9. There were two retirements during the cross country and five eliminations.
The Longines CCI5*-L leaderboard had a decent shake up but Mollie Summerland (GBR) and Charly van ter Heiden remain in the top spot on their 29 penalty point dressage score.
Samantha and Ricker Ridge Rui were clear jumping and added just 5.6 time to move from 13th to seventh. “Rui was a machine,” she said. “He’s made for 5*s and whilst it was a bloody big effort to get here, it’s all been worthwhile to have the opportunity to have another one under our belt.”
Tim retired both Ascona M and Ringwood Sky Boy on course while Jonelle Price and Faerie Dianimo fell at 19 and were eliminated. Both are said to be fine.
“It was a tough day for us – just little bits here and there that equated to a lot really,” said Tim. “There was a little mistake on Sky Boy for me and that had me a little bit on the inside line to a skinny in the water.”
Tim thinks Ascona M struggled a bit in the heat. “She had a good first half of the course – her usual fighty self in front of fences, wanting the job, and then when it came to galloping out the back, she just hit a wall. We will look into her . . . but she has pulled up well and is sound and healthy. Will just see why she wasn’t coping today, but that is just part of what can happen at this level.”
He is hugely thankful his wife Jonelle is ok after her fall.
“Jonelle was having an epic round on Faerie Dianamo when she just caught her hoof – a really peculiar thing – on a bit of decoration in the middle of a normal oxer and it just flicked her back end up and left her falling to the ground as she landed. It sent them both drumming along the ground which wasn’t very nice in these dry conditions.”
However, he says both Jonelle and the mare are fine and will “live to fight another day”. “I am just really pleased that Jonelle is in one piece and all is good.” She did not start McLaren in the 4*.
There were five retirements from the 24-strong field and four eliminations across the field, with just 15 completing today.
The horse details:
Ringwood Sky Boy – owned by Robert Taylor, Tim Price and the late Varenna Allen
Ascona M – owned by Suzanne Houchin, Lucy and Ben Sangster and Peter Vela
Faerie Dianimo – owned by Trisha Rickards, Jacky Green and Jonelle Price
Senza Fine – owned by Therese Miller and Tim Price
McClaren – owned by David and Katherine Thomson
Vitali – owned by Alexander and Joseph Giannamore and Tim Price
Ricker Ridge Rui – owned by Christine Quigley and Samantha Lissington
Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ – owned by Pip McCarroll and Samantha Lissington
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ