"The key to my success really is that I have experienced and careful horses," Exell said.
"With the new experienced horse Spitfire, which I bought from German four-in-hand driver Max Dangel and Bill, the former horse of Christoph Sandmann and Michael Freund, I have a perfect set of leader horses. My wheelers however are the real heroes of my team, they are even more careful and powerful."
Boyd Exell, winner of the FEI World Cup Driving competition in Stuttgart, Germany, at the weekend. © Dirk Caremans
The atmosphere in the Schleyer Halle was fantastic with the many enthusiastic spectators cheering the competitors while they were supported by very good music in a theme that fitted their turnout.
German course designer Falk Bohnisch, who was responsible for the driving courses in Stuttgart for the 17th time, had designed something special for the 25th anniversary of the Stuttgart German Masters. The 65-year-old driving specialist in heart and soul designed one of the marathon obstacles in the shape of an arrow, which allowed the competitors to drive even faster. The second marathon obstacle had a more technical design and demanded the drivers to slow down and to drive more precisely.
"My horses need to be worked well before I start the competition, the more tired they are, the better they go," said Exell. "And when I don't push them and just let them run, they open their strides out and go even faster. I also owe this victory to my groom Michelle, who saved my bacon when I wanted to go the wrong way in the course. We form a very good team."
Michael Freund, multiple winner of the Stuttgart German Masters, coached one of the former students of his 'Perspektivgruppe' Michael Brauchle, who started with a wild card. The 19-year-old amateur, who is in the third year of his metalworker education, recently passed his truck driver's license. Brauchle was pleased to compete in Stuttgart but did not have time to train his horses properly because he has given his education his highest priority at the moment. Brauchle was sixth, behind Theo Timmerman from the Netherlands in fifth place and 2008 German Master Jozsef Dobrovitz in fourth position.
The FEI World Cup Driving in Stuttgart was not the only driving show in the Schleyer Halle. Between the show jumping and dressage classes, the spectators were treated to a spectacular show of four six-in-hands of grey horses. World Cup drivers Daniel Wurgler from Switzerland, Jozsef Dobrovitz from Hungary and Mark Osztertag, Dobrovitz's cousin who is an international pair driver, and Wurgler's compatriot Martin Wagner, performed with a mix of grey Kladruber, Lipizzaner, Lusitano, Polish and Andalusian horses.
Spectacular fireworks on the carriages formed a beautiful Grande Finale of this wonderful show. Jozsef Dobrovitz brought no less than 16 horses to Stuttgart for this occasion (12 for the two six-in-hands for himself and Osztertag and 4 for the World Cup competitions).
Place Driver NF Total
1 Boyd EXELL AUS 20
2 Koos DE RONDE NED 14
3 IJsbrand CHARDON NED 8
4 Tomas ERIKSSON SWE 5
4 Jozsef DOBROVITZ HUN 5
6 Theo TIMMERMAN NED 2